NORTH AMERICA Cuba / United States (Security threat levels –...
United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 2115 local time on 5 November 2021 (0215 UTC on 6 November), a stampede occurred at the Astroworld music festival being held at NRG Park in Houston, Texas, after attendees broke through a barrier. Eight people died during the stampede and 300 more were treated for injuries of varying severity. Initial reports indicate that a large portion of the crowd attempted to push toward the stage when one of the festival’s headlining musicians began his performance. However, attendees near the stage attempted to move away to avoid the crowd surge from the back, resulting in the two sides jostling each other and the subsequent stampede. Authorities have launched an investigation into the stampede as well as claims that an unidentified individual was injecting attendees with drugs after several people were treated for drug overdoses following the stampede.
United States / Mexico (Security threat levels – 2 / 4): On 8 November 2021, the U.S.-Mexico border reopened for nonessential travel after being closed for almost 20 months due to coronavirus-related restrictions. Border crossings are only permitted for individuals who can verify that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization. Proof of vaccination is also required for those using the “Cross Border Express” that connects Mexico’s Tijuana International Airport (MMTJ/TIJ) and California’s San Diego International Airport (KSAN/SAN). Children ages 17 and younger are exempt from vaccine requirements. Severe transit delays have been reported for vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Sierra Leone (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 2200 local time/UTC on 5 November 2021, a fuel tanker exploded in front of the Choithram Supermarket on Bai Bureh Road in the Wellington area of the capital Freetown shortly after colliding with another vehicle. Immediately following the crash, nearby residents converged on the tanker to collect leaking fuel before it ignited and the vehicle subsequently exploded. At least 99 people were killed in the explosion and another 100 suffered injuries; 30 victims with severe burns are not expected to survive. The Satellite and Connaught hospitals reached full capacity treating victims of the blast.
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 7 November 2021, security personnel fired tear gas at protesters gathered near the Education Ministry in the capital Khartoum. Hundreds of teachers marched in the streets and dozens of protesters blocked several roads after the governing military junta dismissed several education department leaders. Multiple protesters suffered minor injuries, and at least 85 people were arrested. In the city of Omdurman, located across the Nile River from Khartoum, police officers deployed tear gas against demonstrators who were blocking roads and setting debris ablaze in the streets. Elsewhere in the country, protests occurred in the southern city of Wad Madni and the northern city of Atbara; however, there were no reports of large-scale violence or arrests. The Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) — an umbrella union involved in ousting former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 — called on pro-democracy supporters to engage in acts of civil disobedience until their demands for a democratic government were met.
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 6 November 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bogota issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “In anticipation of Cartagena Independence Day celebrations from November 8th through 13th, the U.S. Embassy in Colombia reminds U.S. citizens to remain aware of their surroundings and to take extra safety precautions while transiting the city.
“Impromptu festivities associated with these celebrations and pedestrians within the roads may impact free movement throughout the city. Additionally, the route between Cartagena and Barranquilla may be affected by traffic blockages during this period. Hailing taxis from the street poses a security risk.
“While most celebrations remain peaceful, large crowds and confrontations with festival participants should be avoided. The risk of being drugged and robbed also increases during large celebrations.”