South Pacific Islands (Security threat level – 1): At approximately 1515 local time (0415 UTC) on 5 December 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 170 km (105 mi) east-southeast of Tadine, New Caledonia, in the Pacific Ocean. The quake occurred at a depth of 10 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami threat message, warning that tsunami waves of 1-3 m (3-10 ft) were possible for New Caledonia and Vanuatu, while waves of up to 1 m were possible for Fiji. Local officials advised residents in coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground due to the threat. Ultimately, tsunami waves of 0.7 m were observed on Vanuatu’s Tanna island, while small waves also hit parts of the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines. However, there were no reports of significant damage overall and officials stated that the tsunami threat had largely passed approximately three hours after the earthquake. There have likewise been no reports of injuries. At least 20 strong aftershocks with magnitudes as high as 6.6 have occurred since the initial quake; additional aftershocks are anticipated, although they will likely decrease in frequency and magnitude as time passes.
Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 6 December 2018, authorities will deploy more than 5,000 police officers in Athens to provide security during annual protests to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of a teenager who was shot by a police officer in the Exarchia neighborhood. Police officers will use drones to monitor crowds and will be deployed to areas throughout the city, but particularly near the National Technical University (or Athens Polytechnic) and in the Exarchia neighborhood, which is considered an anarchist stronghold. Violence has occurred at this annual march in Athens in the past. Related protests are also likely in other Greek cities. Travelers should avoid all gatherings as a precaution.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): Security personnel and residents clashed in the Kaponda quartier of Lubumbashi’s southwestern Katuba commune on the morning of 4 December 2018. Security personnel used tear gas and fired warning shots into the air to disperse protesters, who burned tires on roads and threw objects at security forces. Reports indicate that projectiles injured two police officers and an unspecified number of demonstrators suffered gunshot wounds; one demonstrator was allegedly shot and killed, but authorities have not confirmed the fatality. Authorities reinforced police presence in the area in the wake of the clashes and the situation normalized by the afternoon. The violence broke out when police officers attempted to recover the body of an individual killed by armed bandits allegedly disguised as security personnel the previous night.
Bolivia (Security threat level – 3): On 4 December 2018, the U.S. Embassy in La Paz issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows:
Finland (Security threat level – 2): On 5 December 2018, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Finland, which reads in part as follows: “Political demonstrations are planned in the Töölö district of Helsinki on Thursday 6 December; you should avoid any demonstrations, remain vigilant and follow advice from the local authorities.”
Venezuela (Security threat level – 4): On 5 December 2018, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Venezuela, which reads in part as follows: “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 80 km (50 miles) of the Colombian border and 40 km (25 miles) of the Brazilian border.”
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.