AMERICAS Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On the evening...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): As of 0600 local time (1100 UTC) on 23 February 2022, the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group has begun a three-day “armed strike” in its strongholds to protest the policies of President Iván Duque’s government. The armed strike is scheduled to end at 0600 local time on 26 February. In a statement, the ELN warned people to remain at home and avoid travel except for essential purposes, such as to attend funerals or seek medical attention. The ELN organizes such armed strikes annually and typically conducts attacks targeting roads in areas where it operates. Earlier in the morning, suspected ELN militants detonated explosives on the Tijeras bridge connecting the towns of Pailitas and Curumaní in the northeastern department of Cesar, causing damage to the bridge. Separately, suspected ELN militants detonated an explosive device on the Socorro-Santander road connecting the towns of Socorro and San Gil in the northeastern department of Santander, injuring four people.
United States (Security threat level – 2): Shortly after 1000 local time (2000 UTC) on 22 February 2022, a helicopter carrying four people crashed on the northern side of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, located on Kauai island in the state of Hawaii. The Sikorsky S-61N helicopter was operated by the Croman Corporation under contract with the U.S. Navy in support of a training operation at the facility. All four people aboard the helicopter were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the crash.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 22 February 2022, the U.S. Department of Defense approved the deployment of approximately 700 unarmed National Guard personnel to the capital Washington, D.C., amid reports of trucker convoys planning to arrive in the city to protest coronavirus-related requirements. National Guard troops equipped with 50 large tactical vehicles will be stationed in the city from 26 February to 7 March and will mainly support local law enforcement agencies to manage vehicular traffic. At least three separate convoys of truckers — inspired by similar protests in Canada — are planning to travel to D.C. beginning next week in the lead-up to President Joe Biden’s scheduled annual State of the Union address to Congress on 1 March. The “People’s Convoy,” one of the organizing groups, plans to leave Southern California and arrive in D.C. around 5 March. The protesters then reportedly intend to stage a march in the city and subsequently shut down the city’s I-495 Beltway. These protest convoys, organized in online platforms, have multiple origin points and separate travel routes. The intention of convoy organizers is to arrive in D.C. at different times in the lead-up to and after the president’s annual address. The extent of possible disruptions in the city associated with the anticipated protest convoys is unclear at this time.
Ireland (Security threat level – 2): On 22 February 2022, government officials announced that they will lift nationwide face mask requirements for indoor public facilities and public transportation as of 28 February. However, face masks will remain mandatory in health care environments, and authorities continue to advise wearing face masks and adhering to social distancing when possible. Testing for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms will also no longer be mandatory, with exceptions for pregnant women, the elderly and the immunocompromised. The announcement mirrors the National Public Health Emergency Team’s recommendation to roll back coronavirus-related restrictions due to decreasing case numbers and rising vaccine and booster immunization rates. Additional details are available here.
Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 23 February 2022, the National Security and Defense Council called for a countrywide state of emergency — with the exception of the Russia-backed separatist regions Donetsk and Luhansk, which have been under a state of emergency since 2014 — to be imposed within 48 hours following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to deploy troops to the separatist regions in southeastern Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) is now expected to vote on the decision. The state of emergency will initially last for 30 days following parliamentary ratification and can be extended for an additional 30 days, depending on the overall security situation in the country. Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy began conscription of military reservists ages 18 to 60 for a maximum period of up to one year. However, Zelenskyy has ruled out a general mobilization at this time.
Madagascar (Security threat level – 3): As of 1200 local time (0900 UTC) on 23 February 2022, Tropical Cyclone Emnati was located approximately 540 km (335 mi) south-southwest of the capital Antananarivo and was moving southeast at 33 kph (21 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Emnati was generating maximum sustained winds of 111 kph, with gusts of up to 140 kph. On its current forecast path, the storm is expected to continue moving over the southern areas of the country before reentering the Indian Ocean by the evening. The storm is then projected to begin dissipating in the ocean.
Tropical Cyclone Emnati made landfall in the southeastern Manakara Atsimo district during the early hours of 23 February. Shortly after landfall, Emnati weakened into a tropical storm. Approximately 30,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm’s arrival. Residents reported significant damage to homes and businesses, but there have been no reports of casualties so far.
Timor-Leste (Security threat level – 3): On 22 February 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Dili issued a Weather Alert regarding above-average rainfall during the rainy season, which reads in part as follows: “Event: U.S. citizens in Timor-Leste are reminded that Timor-Leste may experience above-average rainfall during the current rainy season and La Niña event. Potential dangers include flooding, landslides, damaged structures, and prolonged electrical, communication, and transportation disruptions.”