Worldview Security Report – January 3, 2019
3-Jan-19

AMERICAS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3): On 3 January 2019, the Medical Association of Bolivia began a 48-hour strike to protest against the government’s poor implementation of universal healthcare through the Unified Health System (SUS) and to demand greater healthcare funding. Doctors are calling on the government to increase funding to 10 percent from the current 6.5 percent of the national budget. The strike will not affect emergency healthcare services.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): On 3 January 2019, conservative Hindu groups launched a 12-hour hartal (strike) in the state of Kerala to protest against the state government’s decision to allow women to enter a Hindu temple. Most schools and shops were closed, while most bus and some taxi services were halted due to fears of violence. There were reports of protesters blocking roads, and of clashes between members of rival political groups as well as between protesters and police officers. In one incident in Thiruvananthapuram, protesters threw a Molotov cocktail at a police station, injuring two police officers. There were also reports of protesters vandalizing shops and government offices. According to one local news source, one person was killed and at least 100 people were injured in clashes across the state.

Thailand / Vietnam / Cambodia (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 3 January 2019, Tropical Storm Pabuk was located approximately 570 km (355 mi) south-southwest of Ho Chi Minh City. At that time, the storm was moving west at a speed of approximately 9 kph (6 mph), and was posting maximum sustained winds of 65 kph with gusts up to 83 kph. The storm is expected to strengthen over the next several days as it tracks toward the Gulf of Thailand. Heavy rainfall and flooding are expected in the coastal areas of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Current forecasts predict the storm will make landfall on the eastern coast of southern Thailand by 4 January. As a precaution, officials on tourist islands such as Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Koh Samui have begun to prepare for strong winds and heavy rains. Although no evacuation orders have been issued, some transportation services have already been disrupted. For example, ferry services to Koh Samui have been halted, while Bangkok Airways has canceled all flights to Koh Samui Airport (VTSM/USM); Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport (VTSF/NST) has also announced it will be closed to all flights on 4 January.

AUSTRALASIA

Fiji (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 2200 local time on 3 January 2019 (0900 UTC on 3 January), Tropical Cyclone Mona was located approximately 140 km (85 mi) east-southeast of the northern Fijian island of Rotuma, according to the Fiji Meteorological Service. At that time, the Category 1 cyclone was posting maximum sustained winds of 65 kph (40 mph) with gusts of up to 90 kph, and was moving southeast at a speed of 20 kph. The latest forecasts indicate that Mona will pass close to Rotuma Island overnight on 3-4 January and could strengthen into a Category 2 tropical cyclone within the next 24 to 36 hours. On its current track, the cyclone is expected to reach the two main islands of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu — where the capital Suva is located — by 6 January. Heavy rain and wind warnings are in effect for most areas in Fiji in anticipation of heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding.

EUROPE

Finland (Security threat level – 2): On 2 January 2019, Finland’s Air Navigation Services (ANS) warned that significant disruptions are possible during an air traffic controller (ATC) strike on 4 January. Members of the Finnish Air Traffic Controllers union (SLJY), which represents approximately 90 percent of ATCs in the country, will strike from 1500 to 1700 local time (1300 to 1500 UTC) due to an ongoing dispute over terms and conditions of employment. Reports also indicate that additional strikes may occur on 10 January and every Thursday afternoon indefinitely if SLJY and ANS do not come to an agreement. Air traffic disruptions, including flight cancellations and delays, are likely during these labor actions.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 2 January 2019, reports emerged that the Sudanese government had blocked access to several social media sites in an effort to curb nationwide demonstrations. Reports indicate the ban has affected users of the three main telecommunications services in the country — Zain, MTN and Sudaini — and that access to Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp is now only possible via virtual private network (VPN). Thus far, authorities have not imposed a broad internet blackout, as they have done during previous periods of unrest.

Uganda (Security threat level – 4): At 0041 local time 3 January 2019 (2140 UTC on 2 January), Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET338 skidded off the runway upon landing at Entebbe International Airport (HUEN/EBB). The Boeing 737-800 was carrying 139 passengers at the time of the incident. There were no reports of injuries and passengers and crew members safely disembarked. The aircraft was not damaged during the runway excursion. Airport authorities closed the runway for several hours while the aircraft was being towed; some international inbound flights were diverted or canceled, and there were some flight delays as a result of the runway closure. The runway has since reopened and flight operations have normalized.




GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Denmark (Security threat level – 2): On 3 December 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Denmark, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Following a commuter train crash on the Great Belt Bridge on 2 January 2019, all trains between the islands of Funen and Zealand have now returned to service. However, it is possible that some delays will continue; you should allow extra time for your journey. You can find the latest travel updates on the Danish State Railways (DSB) website (in Danish). For more information, you may wish to contact DSB Customer Services (in English).”

  • India (Security threat level – 3): On 3 January 2019, the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Kerala, India
  • “Event: Protests and demonstrations concerning the Sabarimala Temple
  • “Media report widespread protests and a call for a general strike throughout the state of Kerala related to the opening of Sabarimala Temple to women of childbearing age. Despite an Indian Supreme Court decision allowing entry, the entry of two women into the temple on January 2 has led to violent protests throughout Kerala, including in Palakkad, Kasargode, and Kollam. The protests have, so far, led to the death of one person and caused substantial property damage, including the destruction of 45 public buses. A general strike could cause work stoppages, shop closures, and transportation delays.
  • “It is recommended for everyone to take reasonable precautions regarding personal security and avoid any large crowds.”

  • Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 2 January 2019, the U.S. Mission to Somalia issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Event: The UN reports that several mortar rounds struck the UN compound within the Mogadishu International Airport on January 1, 2019. Two UN mission members are reported to have received non-life threatening injuries. The situation remains fluid and assessment of the event continues. The airport remains open and is operating normally.
  • “Actions to take:
    Reconsider travel to and around Mogadishu International Airport (MIA)
    Monitor social media and local media for updates.”

  • Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 2 January 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Sudan, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Sporadic protests have led to a state of emergency and curfews being imposed in several towns and cities across Sudan. In Khartoum, the areas around Omdurman, Haj Yousif and Souq Al-Arabi have seen the most regular protests and security operations, but demonstrations have occurred sporadically across the city, particularly following Friday prayers. Live ammunition and tear gas have been used against protestors on occasion. You should avoid protests or large gatherings, observe local curfews and follow the instructions of the relevant authorities. You’re advised to: limit travel, including within/around cities; seek information on the situation in districts you propose travelling to or through before departing; and identify and remain in a place of safety if local circumstances dictate.”

  • Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 3 January 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum Sudan issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Each city in metropolitan Khartoum (Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) and in other cities and locations across Sudan.
    “Event: Demonstrations have been called for the following times:
  • “Friday, January 4, 2019: Demonstrations are expected in the afternoon in Khartoum and other cities.
  • “Sunday, January 6, 2019: Protesters are expected to gather at different points in the city beginning at 1:00 p.m. and converge at the Presidential Palace.
  • “Wednesday, January 9, 2019: Demonstrations are expected at the National Assembly building in Omdurman [located 23 km (14 mi) north of Khartoum].
  • “Organizers have also called for demonstrations nightly in Khartoum and in other cities and locations across Sudan.
  • “U.S. Embassy Khartoum is also aware of a continued increased presence of Sudanese armed forces in Khartoum.
  • “American personnel at the U.S. Embassy have been advised to avoid downtown Khartoum in the afternoon on Friday, January 4, 2019.”

  • Thailand (Security threat level – 3): On 3 January 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok issued a message regarding Tropical Storm Pabuk that reads in part as follows:

  • “Tropical Storm Pabuk is forecasted to affect southern Thailand from January 3-5, 2019. Heavy rains and strong winds will affect both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea and the following areas: Chumphon, Phetchaburi, Prachuap, Khiri Khan, Surat Thani (inc. Koh Samui, Koh Phangnan, and Koh Tao), Nakhon Si Thammarart, Phatthalung, Ranong, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi (inc. Koh Phi Phi), Trang, and Satun. Flight schedules and ferry services are being affected.
  • “Actions to Take: Monitor the local news for updates. Avoid travel to this area until the storms have dissipated. Seek secure shelter. Visit the Thailand Meteorological Department and the World Meteorological Organization for updated storm tracking information. U.S. citizens are advised to follow instructions given by Thai authorities regarding any safety and security measures for the duration of the storm.”

  • 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.