Worldview Security Report – February 20, 2019
20-Feb-19

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 20 February 2019, a powerful winter storm is affecting the United States’ Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Several major cities — including Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C. — are forecast to receive heavy snow, sleet and ice. The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm warnings and advisories across these areas, and travel disruptions and hazardous road conditions are likely throughout the day. More than 1,350 flights have been canceled nationwide on 20 February; the airports with the highest number of cancellations include Washington, D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (KDCA/DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD/IAD), Baltimore-Washington International Airport (KBWI/BWI), and Chicago Midway International Airport (KMDW/MDW).

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): According to reports on 20 February 2019, Chinese authorities have banned foreign travelers from visiting Tibet until 1 April ahead of the 60th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising on 10 March and the 11th anniversary of the 2008 anti-government riots in Lhasa on 14 March. Officials typically restrict travel to Tibet each year during these anniversaries, and normally foreigners are required to obtain an additional permit to travel to Tibet. Security is also very heavy within Tibet during this time, and authorities usually restrict journalist and diplomat access.

EUROPE

Italy (Security threat level – 3): As of 20 February 2019, all operations at Rome’s Ciampino International Airport (LIRA/CIA) are currently being routed through nearby Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino International Airport (LIRF/FCO), following a fire that broke out in Ciampino Airport’s basement on 19 February. Airport authorities are providing a free shuttle service between the two airports. The cause of the fire remains unknown, although officials believe that it was started deliberately.

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 20 February 2019, Mount Etna — Europe’s most active volcano located on the island of Sicily — erupted, causing flight disruptions at Sicily’s Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (LICC/CTA). Airport authorities have restricted arrivals due to a cloud of ash, causing delays; however, departures have not been affected by the volcanic activity. Airport authorities have advised that further disruptions, including flight delays and cancellations, are likely throughout the day; disruptions also remain possible in the coming days if volcanic activity persists.

Slovakia (Security threat level – 2): According to reports on 20 February 2019, protests are expected across Slovakia on 21 February to mark the one year anniversary of the murder of a prominent anti-corruption investigative journalist. Thus far, the “For a Decent Slovakia” anti-corruption movement has announced that protests will be held in the following cities: Bratislava, Banovce nad Bebravou, Banska Bystrica, Banska Stiavnice, Bytca, Kezmarok, Kosice, Levice, Liptovsky Mikulas, Lucenec, Michalovce, Namestovo, Piestany, Povazska Bystrica, Presove, Prievidza, Rimavska Sobota, Roznava, Ruzomberok, Spisska Nova Ves, Trebisov, Ziar nad Hronom and Zilina. All of the protests are scheduled to begin between 1700 and 1900 local time (1600 and 1800 UTC). Travelers should avoid all demonstrations as a general precaution.

Spain (Security threat level – 3): According to reports on 19 February 2019, several minority unions have called for a general strike in the Catalan region of Spain on 21 February. The Intersindical-Confederació Sindical Catalana (CSC) called for the strike in response to the ongoing trial of 12 Catalan separatist leaders accused of misusing public funds and engaging in rebellion and sedition during Catalonia’s independence referendum in 2017; the union is also advocating for other issues, including an increase in the minimum wage. It is currently unclear how many people will adhere to the strike, as the larger Catalan unions have not endorsed the civil action. Nevertheless, disruptions are possible, particularly in the transportation and education sectors. Minimum services, including 33 percent of regional trains and 50 percent of Barcelona metro routes during peak hours, will be guaranteed during the strike.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 20 February 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows:

  • “Reports of an oil spill at Canapé-vert. Do not attempt to drive through roadblocks. If you encounter a roadblock, turn around and get to a safe area.”

  • Moldova (Security threat level – 3): On 20 February 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Chisinau and locations across Moldova
  • “Event: National parliamentary elections are scheduled for Sunday, February 24. As in the past, large public demonstrations are likely to occur after the elections. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn dangerous at any time. Large public gatherings can affect traffic in the city.”

  • Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 20 February 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon issued a Health Alert that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Yangon Region, Burma
  • “Event: According to local media reporting, Yangon Region government officials report an increase in measles cases since the beginning of 2019. The Burmese Ministry of Health and Sports is planning a measles vaccine drive for children in the coming weeks.”

  • Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 20 February 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Senegal, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Exercise increased caution in Senegal due to elections, crime, and landmines. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
  • “Presidential elections in Senegal are scheduled for February 24, 2019. If no candidate wins a majority during the initial balloting, a second round will be held, either on March 10, March 17, or March 24, with March 17 the most likely date.
  • “Tensions are typically heightened during campaign and election periods, and some election-related demonstrations and other activities have resulted in violence. The Senegalese government may impose travel restrictions as the elections approaches, sometimes without notice, which may affect travel plans. Expect additional police and military checkpoints and possible road blocks throughout the country during the campaign period and election day itself. Regular road travel between regions is prohibited on election days.
  • “Armed individuals have set up roadblocks and attacked travelers on roads south of The Gambia in the Casamance region of Senegal.
  • “Land mines from prior conflicts remain in the Casamance Region.
  • “The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in this area. U.S. government employees are prohibited from travelling on National Route 4 south of Ziguinchor, on Route 20 between Ziguinchor and Cap Skirring, and on unpaved roads without armed escorts. U.S. government employees are also prohibited from travelling after dark.”

  • 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.