Germany / Belgium / France / Luxembourg / Netherlands (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3 / 1 / 2): As of 16 July 2021, severe flooding and heavy rainfall continue to affect several countries in Western Europe. According to Germany’s Federal Office for Population and Disaster Protection, 23 cities and districts in the northwestern state of North Rhine-Westphalia have been affected by floods, with at least 43 fatalities and hundreds of injuries reported in that region. In the western town of Heimerzheim, all 6,000 of the town’s residents were evacuated after the Swist River — usually 2 m (6 ft) across — swelled to over 200 m wide and flooded homes and other buildings. Authorities in the district government of Cologne reported that first responders rescued 55 people trapped in their homes by landslides and floods, but at least 15 other stranded individuals have yet to be saved. In the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, authorities stated that more than 60 people have been killed and more than 1,300 people are unaccounted for. Infrastructure damage in the region, including to cellular towers, has hindered communications and rescue efforts. An estimated 165,000 people remain without electricity, and the Bundesautobahn 61 highway remains impassable to throughway traffic on both sides. Bundesstraße 9 — federal highway 9 — is closed on both sides from the towns of Breisig and Remagen. Authorities have closed off parts of the Rhine River — which flows through Germany and the Netherlands — to commercial shipping, as the river has been deemed unsafe for travel. The German military has deployed 850 soldiers to the affected areas, with additional troops expected to assist in rescue and clean-up efforts.
In eastern Belgium, authorities in the city of Liege – which has a population of approximately 200,000 people — are encouraging all residents to leave the town if they can do so safely, as the Muese River continues to overflow its banks and more rain is expected in the coming days. At least 14 residents have died in several cities, including five in Liege, and an unknown number of people remain missing. In the city of Pepinster — a municipality of approximately 10,000 residents — dozens of homes collapsed in the floodwaters and hundreds of residents climbed atop their roofs, waiting to be rescued. City officials in the town of Maaseik, Limburg province, have warned residents to evacuate the city as the Monsin dam, located near Liege, could fail. Heavy rainfall has moved into central Belgium, and authorities in the Flemish towns of Braana and Geetbets stated that floodwaters are rising by the hour. Train service has been suspended between the Dutch city of Maastricht – from which 10,000 people have been evacuated — and Liege, and roads are closed to travelers in eastern Belgium into the Netherlands.
In eastern Luxembourg, residents in the towns of Rosport and Echternach are waiting to be evacuated from their homes after heavy rains caused the banks of the Sûre river to overflow. More than 100 roads in eastern Luxembourg have been blocked off by emergency services personnel, and trains between Luxembourg and France have been suspended until further notice. Heavy rainfall has also been reported in France and Switzerland.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): As of 0400 local time (0300 UTC) on 19 July 2021, the U.K. Department for Transport will alter the placement of countries on its traffic-light system for foreign travel, which determines coronavirus-related entry requirements for travelers to England. Four countries — Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone — will be moved to the “red list,” a designation that requires individuals allowed to enter England from those countries to quarantine at government-approved hotels for 10 days and to take PCR tests on the second and eighth days of the quarantine period. Foreigners — except Irish citizens and individuals with residency in the U.K. — who have visited countries on the red list during the previous 10 days remain subject to an entry ban. At the same time, the Spanish islands of Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca, as well as the British Virgin Islands, will be moved to the “amber list.” Individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the U.K. arriving from countries on the amber list — which includes the U.S. — will no longer be required to self-quarantine as of 19 July. However, fully vaccinated individuals will be required to take a PCR test on or before the second day of their arrival, same as travelers arriving from countries on the “green list.” This change will apply to individuals arriving in England, Wales and Scotland on 19 July, whereas authorities in Northern Ireland reportedly plan to implement the change on 26 July. The entry requirement to obtain a negative result from a PCR test taken within the three days preceding travel remains in place for all individuals arriving in the U.K. regardless of the location of origin.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria and Hong Kong will be placed on the green list, a designation that requires inbound travelers to take an additional PCR test on or before the second day of arrival. Croatia and Taiwan will be placed on the “green watchlist,” indicating that the locations are at risk of being placed on the amber list, should local coronavirus-related epidemiological conditions deteriorate.
A full list of the countries along with their groupings within the three categories and corresponding restrictions for entering England can be viewed here.
Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 15 July 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The “Collective for the Defense of the Military” is planning a peaceful march on July 16, 2021, at 2:30 PM. The march will occur between the Place de la Liberté and the Ministry of Defense.
“The demonstration has been approved by the government. Demonstrations sometimes turn violent, resulting in the burning of tires, clashes with the police, blockage on the roads and bridges, throwing of rocks at vehicles, the deployment of tear gas, and small arms fire.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 15 July 2021, the U.S. Mission to South Africa issued a Security Alert which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Mission to South Africa continues to closely monitor security developments in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, and across South Africa. Local media reporting indicates that the recent unrest is negatively impacting some supply chains within South Africa. Because of disruptions to the Port of Durban and overland transportation routes, there may be some disruptions to retail supply chains even in parts of the country not directly experiencing unrest. Ensure you have sufficient food, fuel, and medical supplies should logistical disruptions occur.
“We have received many inquiries from U.S. citizens exploring flight options. King Shaka, OR Tambo, and Cape Town International Airports remain open with domestic and international flights available. Roads to these airports remain accessible. Safair, Airlink, and Cemair are running regional flights and Qatar Airways is offering limited, international flights from King Shaka International Airport in Durban. KLM, United Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, and Qatar Airways have regular international flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town most weekdays. Contact airlines directly for the most up-to-date information.
“Airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel. COVID testing centers are available at King Shaka International Airport (banking section) as well as at Johannesburg and Cape Town international airports for PCR and rapid antigen testing. To request a waiver of the COVID-19 testing requirements, visit https://za.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/ .”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Zambia (Security threat level – 3): On 16 July 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Zambia will hold general elections on August 12, allowing the electorate to cast votes for the President and National Assembly members. While we are not anticipating large scale violence or unrest, the Department of State recommends avoiding large crowds, demonstrations, and political gatherings during the Zambian election season. Follow media coverage of local events, remain vigilant to your surroundings, and exercise caution when travelling. Spontaneous demonstrations may occur throughout the country in the lead up to the election. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can quickly turn confrontational and escalate into violence.
“U.S. government personnel are advised to avoid crowds, high-density residential compounds, public parks, and poorly lighted areas, especially at night.”