Worldview Security Report – December 27, 2018
27-Dec-18

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): A powerful winter storm is affecting the Upper Midwest region of the United States on 27 December 2018. Local authorities have issued blizzard warnings for parts of Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska and South Dakota, where sustained winds of 15-30 mph (25-50 kph) with gusts up to 35-50 mph are expected. Additionally, snowfall of up to 18 inches (460 mm) is in the forecast for parts of the region. The inclement weather is likely to cause disruptions to ground and air travel in the aforementioned states; travelers should expect flight delays and cancellations at airports in the region. The winter storm is expected to reach the northeastern states by the morning hours of 28 December and could cause travel disruptions in New York state and the northern parts of the New England region.

ASIA

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 27 December 2018, Indonesian authorities raised the alert level for the Anak Krakatau volcano from “Level 2 (Alert)” to “Level 3 (Standby),” the second-highest level, as activity at the volcano continues to increase. Officials also implemented a 5 km (3 mi) exclusion zone radius around the volcano and are rerouting all flights around it as well. Authorities have also prohibited all individuals from carrying out any activities within the exclusion zone. Officials previously urged people to stay at least 500 meters (550 yards) away from coastal areas along the Sunda Strait, which were struck by a tsunami that killed more than 400 people on 22 December.
Philippines (Security threat level – 4): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 27 December 2018, Tropical Depression 35W was located approximately 1,070 km (665 mi) east-southeast of Manila, and was tracking west-northwest at about 7 kph (5 mph). The storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 46 kph with gusts up to 65 kph. Current forecasts predict 35W will make landfall in Eastern Samar province on 28 December.

EUROPE

Kosovo (Security threat level – 4): On 26 December 2018, public health care workers launched a two-day nationwide strike to demand higher salaries. Emergency health care services are available during the strike; however, disruptions to non-emergency health care services have been reported as a result of the work stoppage.The Healthcare Trade Union Federation warned that more strikes and protests will follow if the government does not meet its demands.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 27 December 2018, demonstrations took place in North Kivu province for a second consecutive day to protest against the National Independent Election Commission’s (CENI) postponement of the general elections in Beni, Butembo and Yumbi until March 2019. On 26 December, a spontaneous protest broke out in the city of Butembo following the CENI’s announcement of the postponement. Police officers dispersed the protesters, who burned tires and blocked roads in the city’s Furu quartier. On the following day, security personnel in the city of Beni used tear gas and fired warning shots to disperse demonstrators, who burned tires and blocked roads. During the protest, demonstrators marched to the mayor’s office and the CENI building. No injuries were reported during the unrest in Beni, although most shops and schools in the city were closed due to the protest. Demonstrations also broke out in the city of Goma. Security personnel in Goma used tear gas to disperse protesters who blocked a main road in the western part of the city, and a protest broke out at the Campus du Lac, a university campus. Elsewhere in Goma, security personnel patrolled the northern Majengo quartier, where they used tear gas to disperse demonstrators and lifted roadblocks erected by protesters. The protests disrupted commercial activities in parts of Goma.

The CENI announced that it was postponing voting in the general elections in Beni, Butembo and Yumbi territory from 30 December until March 2019 on 26 December. The CENI cited the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo — where Beni and Butembo are located — and insecurity as justification for the postponement of the polls. The announcement triggered condemnation from several political leaders, as well as calls for demonstrations. The opposition Lamuka coalition has also called for a “journée morte” (dead day) on 28 December to protest against the CENI’s decision.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 26 December 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Border between Benishangul Gumuz and the regions of East and West Wallega in Oromia.
  • “Event: The Embassy is aware of unrest around the border between the Benishangul-Gumuz region and the East and West Wallega zones of Oromia. There are ongoing military operations in this area and reports of violence. There are also disruptions to businesses, government services, and transportation.
  • “Actions to Take:
  • Reconsider travel to this region.
    Employ sound security practices.
    Remain aware of your surroundings, including local events.

    Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations; monitor local news stations; and follow the instructions of local authorities.
    Remember that the security environment in Ethiopia is fluid and can deteriorate without warning.”


    Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 27 December 2018, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Italy, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Due to Mount Etna’s recent volcanic eruption, a series of earthquakes and earth tremors are affecting the Catania area and the eastern part of the island of Sicily. For more details, see the National Centre for Earthquakes’ website (in Italian). This seismic activity is expected to continue until the volcanic activity subsides. Local authorities are monitoring the situation and providing updates via their website (in Italian). If you intend to travel to affected areas, you should follow their advice. You should also check the Catania Airport website for flight updates before travel.”
  • Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 26 December 2018, the U.S. Consulate General in Merida issued a message for U.S. citizens, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Cancun Consular Agency closed for routine appointments January 7-15, 2019
  • “The Cancun Consular Agency will be closed for routine appointments due to construction work January 7-15, 2019. It will reopen to the public on Wednesday, January 16, 2019.
  • “During that time, U.S. citizens can schedule appointments at the Playa del Carmen Consular Agency located at Plaza Progreso, Local 33, Carretera Federal Puerto Juarez-Chetumal, Mz. 293 Lt. 1. ”

  • 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.