Worldview Security Report – February 5, 2019
5-Feb-19

AUSTRALASIA

Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 5 February 2019, continuing heavy rains prompted authorities to issue a new flash flood warning in Australia’s northeastern Queensland state. The region is currently dealing with “once-in-a century” floods that have forced schools and airports to close, inundated homes and vehicles, and resulted in power outages. Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate, particularly in Townsville, which has been hardest hit by the flooding. The heavy rains are expected to ease by 9-10 February.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 5 February 2019, thousands of people are participating in a general strike across France to demand government reforms, including higher wages and changes to the tax system. Several labor unions and other organizations called for the strike, which is associated with the “yellow vest” movement. The strike is affecting public and private services; most tourist attractions, museums and public libraries are short-staffed, resulting in long lines. In Paris, state-owned public transport operator Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) reported that it anticipates normal service on most of its network; however, several metro stations are currently temporarily closed due to a planned march (see below for more information). The affected metro stations include the Hotel de Ville, Champs Elysees Clemenceau, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Miromesnil stations. Meanwhile, across France, national state-owned railway company Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF) stated that it expects normal service on all lines.

Striking workers are also participating in demonstrations and blocking roads across the country. In Paris, protesters gathered at the Hotel de Ville at approximately 1400 local time (1300 UTC) and are marching to the Place de la Concorde. Protests and roadblocks have also been reported in Avignon, Bayonne, Grenoble, Le Havre, Limoges, Lyon, Montauban, Nantes, Perigueux, Rouen, Saint-Etienne du Rouvray and Toulouse. Earlier in the day, protesters blocked access to Nantes Atlantique Airport (LFRS/NTE), forcing passengers to walk approximately 3 km (2 mi) to reach the airport.

France (Security threat level – 3): Early on 5 February 2019, a fire broke out at an eight-story residential building located in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. At least 10 people were killed and 37 others were injured; authorities stated that the death toll could rise as firefighters continue to clear the building. The cause of the fire is unknown, but it is being investigated as a criminal incident; one woman has been arrested on possible arson charges. The fire is believed to be the deadliest in Paris since 2005, when 24 people died in a hotel fire near the Paris Opera.

Germany (Security threat level – 3): On 5 February 2019, Berlin-based airline Germania announced that it had filed for bankruptcy on 4 February and had canceled all flights effective immediately. Germania cited rising fuel prices, a stronger U.S. dollar, difficulties integrating new aircraft into its fleet and a high number of maintenance services, for its cash shortage. The airline operated 37 aircraft and transported approximately 4 million passengers per year between Germany and holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. Germania’s subsidiaries — Swiss Germania Flug AG and Bulgarian Eagle — have not been affected by the bankruptcy.

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 5 February 2019, security officers in the Moscow region evacuated approximately 10,000 people after they received a series of bomb threats against more than 50 buildings, including schools, shopping centers, government buildings, offices and hospitals, in the area. There have been some minor traffic and service disruptions as security officers have blocked off streets near targeted buildings during searches. Some of the searches are still ongoing. Thus far, no explosive devices have been found at any of the sites. There have been several bomb threats called into locations across Russia over the last month, which have prompted similar evacuations; all of the threats have turned out to be false alarms.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 5 February 2019, violence broke out in the Keshero district of Goma, the capital of the northeastern North Kivu province, after police officers allegedly killed a resident. The victim died after police officers opened fire on a crowd that had apprehended an armed thief and was allegedly planning to exact vigilante justice; at least two others residents were also injured during the incident. In response to the local’s death, residents looted several buildings, seized two police motorcycles and a firearm from security personnel, and then set fire to the police station. The fire also destroyed at least four nearby residences.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3): On 4 February 2019, the U.S. Embassy in La Paz issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Bolivian roads and highways
  • “Event: Seasonal rains have caused landslides and flooding, and forced road and bridge closures on affected roads. The Bolivian Highway Administration (ABC) reported eight road closures across the country over the weekend, including roads in the El Choro and Caranavi areas where at least 15 people have died due to degraded road conditions, according to local media.”

  • France (Security threat level – 3): On 4 February 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Demonstration Alert regarding upcoming nationwide strikes that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: France, countrywide.
  • “Event: A nationwide strike and demonstrations by labor unions representing the transportation, education, health, and social welfare sectors will take place on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 across France. Air and rail travel may be affected.
  • “In Paris, a demonstration is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Hotel de Ville followed by a march to the Place de la Concorde near the U.S. Embassy. Therefore, the Embassy will close to the public at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. We will resume our normal business hours beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance may contact the Embassy at 01 43 12 22 22 (telephone in France) or (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22 (telephone from the United States).”

  • India (Security threat level – 3): On 5 February 2019, the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows: “Political demonstrations may occur throughout Kolkata on short notice in the coming days, particularly in the areas of Dharmatala/Esplanade, Central Kolkata near Loudon Street, and Camac Street/AJC Bose Road. These demonstrations may result in public transportation disruptions and delays. Please take reasonable precautions regarding personal security and avoid any large crowds.”


    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.