Worldview Security Report – April 10, 2019
10-Apr-19

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 9 April 2019, New York City officials declared a public health emergency in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood in response to an active measles outbreak, which has primarily affected unvaccinated individuals residing in zip codes 11205, 11206, 11221 and 11249. More than 250 cases of measles have been recorded in this area since September 2018, largely among members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. The city mayor has described the current situation as “an existing threat to public health” and ordered mandatory vaccinations for individuals who “live, work or reside” in the four zip codes within 48 hours of the signing of this public emergency order. The order warns that “failure to comply with this Order is a violation of §3.05 of the New York City Health Code, and a misdemeanor for which you may be subject to civil and/or criminal fines, forfeitures and penalties, including imprisonment.” Travelers to these areas of New York City should have their immunization records handy, as individuals who cannot demonstrate immunity or vaccination may face a misdemeanor charge.

Venezuela (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 2320 local time (0320 UTC) on 9 April 2019, a new blackout occurred across Venezuela, partially affecting the capital Caracas and at least 20 out of 23 states. Neither the government nor the state electricity company gave a reason for the new blackout. As of this writing on 10 April, power has been restored to some sectors of Caracas and Miranda state. The outage occurred one day after the government announced plans to ration electricity for one year following a series of power cuts in recent weeks. It also occurred one day before opposition leader Juan Guaidó is expected to hold a large-scale anti-government protest on 10 April in response to the recent spate of power outages and other public service interruptions.

ASIA

Thailand (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1800 local time (1100 UTC) on 10 April 2019, a fire broke out on the eighth floor of the Centara Grand Hotel, which is located in the CentralWorld shopping center in downtown Bangkok. At last one person was killed and two others were injured in the fire. Firefighters reportedly contained the blaze by 1900 local time. However, serious traffic disruptions are taking place in the vicinity of CentralWorld, including along Rajdamri Road and Rama I Road. Authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire, which currently remains unknown.

EUROPE

Albania (Security threat level – 3): On 9 April 2019, a group of thieves dressed in military fatigues stole several bags of cash from an aircraft at Tirana International Airport (LATI/TIA). The thieves posed as tax officials to gain entry to the airport and then used an emergency firefighter entrance to reach the tarmac; they then held ground workers at gunpoint and stole an unspecified amount of cash. The criminals exchanged gunfire with security officials while fleeing the scene; at least one gunman was killed in the incident. It is unclear how many individuals involved in the robbery are still on the run. Several such robberies have occurred at this airport in recent years.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Serbia (Security threat level – 3): On 10 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Serbia, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Large gatherings have been announced for 11 and 12 April in Novi Sad and 13 and 19 April in Belgrade. You should keep up to date with local developments and avoid any large crowds or demonstrations.”
  • Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 10 April 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Sudan, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Reconsider travel to Sudan due to terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory.
  • “Do Not Travel to:
  • “The Darfur region, Blue Nile state, and South Kordofan state due to crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
  • “Terrorist groups continue to pose a threat in Sudan. Terrorist groups in Sudan may harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings. They may attack with little or no warning, targeting foreign and local government facilities, and areas frequented by Westerners.
  • “There is a national state of emergency in effect across Sudan, which gives security forces greater arrest and incarceration powers. Security forces have enhanced authority to detain and arrest anybody they deem to be undermining public order, including protestors or those suspected of supporting the protests. Arbitrary detentions, including of foreigners, have been reported across the country. Curfews and checkpoints on roads may be imposed with little or no warning. The Sudanese government does not recognize dual citizenship and is likely to consider U.S.-Sudanese dual citizens as Sudanese citizens only.
  • “Demonstrations, including anti-Western rallies, can occur with no warning. Demonstrations, both announced and unannounced, have occurred frequently throughout Sudan since December 19, 2018. Police and other security forces may respond to public demonstrations suddenly and with violence. Demonstrations are also common before and after Friday prayers. Foreigners could be targeted in reaction to national and international events.”
  • Analyst Comment: The new Travel Advisory reflects the increased risk of civil unrest in Sudan and the institution of a state of emergency in the country.
  • Zimbabwe (Security threat level – 4): On 9 April 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Zimbabwe, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Tropical Cyclone Idai caused significant flooding and mud slides across many parts of eastern Zimbabwe. Whilst the access situation has improved, many roads and bridges in the affected areas are still impassable. Electricity, water, and telecommunications networks have been impacted. If travelling to affected regions, take extra care and follow any advice given by the local authorities. Contact your hotel prior to travel to check that the hotel is still accessible and open.”

  • Security threat levels range from 1 (Very Low) to 5 (Very High) and are determined using a comprehensive system that utilizes both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The primary factors used to determine a location’s security threat level are Armed Conflict, Crime, Demonstrations/Strikes, Ethnic/Sectarian Tensions, Graft/Corruption, Kidnapping, Political Instability, Government Restriction and Terrorism.