Worldview Security Update – August 2, 2019
2-Aug-19

ASIA

China / Vietnam / Laos (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 2 August 2019, Tropical Storm Wipha was located approximately 270 km (170 mi) east of Hanoi, Vietnam, and was moving northwest at 7 kph (5 mph). At that point, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 74 kph, with gusts of up to 93 kph and waves up to 4 m (12 ft) in height. Authorities in China’s Hainan and Guangxi provinces continue to maintain "blue alerts" — the lowest level of alert on a 4-tier scale — for coastal areas in the region. Wipha is currently tracking along the southern coast of China’s Guangxi province and is forecast to make a second landfall in northern Vietnam later on 2 August before tracking onward to northern Laos the following day. Vietnam Airlines has canceled at least five flights to and from Hai Phong’s Cat Bi International Airport (VVCI/HPH). Authorities have warned of potential flash floods and landslides in the provinces of Nam Dinh and Quang Ninh.

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): At 1903 local time (1203 UTC) on 2 August 2019, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 105 km (65 mi) west-southwest of the city of Tugu Hilir — located in Banten province — according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake occurred at an estimated depth of 53 km. The epicenter was located off the western coasts of Java and Sumatra islands, and authorities have issued a tsunami warning in response. The tremor was felt in large cities, including the capital Jakarta, along with Bogor and Bandung; however, no reports of casualties or damage have emerged as yet. Damage from the actual earthquake is likely to be minimal at most. However, areas along the western coasts of Lampung, Banten and West Java could potentially experience tsunami waves. As a precaution, individuals in these areas should relocate to higher ground.

Japan / South Korea (Security threat levels – 1 / 2): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 2 August 2019, Tropical Storm Francisco was located approximately 1,150 km (725 mi) east-southeast of Iwo Jima, located in Japan’s Ogasawara Archipelago. At that time, the storm was moving north-northwest at a speed of 22 kph (14 mph) and was posting maximum sustained winds of 65 kph, with gusts of up to 83 kph. Francisco is forecast to come ashore as a Category 2 storm in the southwestern Kyushu province on 5 August; the storm is also expected to affect South Korea’s southwestern Jeollanam province.

Thailand (Security threat level – 3): On the morning of 2 August 2019, a total of six improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonated at three different sites in the capital Bangkok. The first three explosions occurred near the Chong Nonsi BTS skytrain station and the nearby King Power Mahanakhon building, located in the city center, at approximately 0900 local time (0200 UTC). Shortly afterward, three explosions occurred near a government building in the city’s northern Lak Si district. Authorities also recovered one IED that failed to detonate near the government complex. In total, four individuals suffered minor injuries in the explosions. No reports have emerged indicating a potential motive for the blasts. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered an investigation and urged the general populace to cooperate with officials investigating the blasts, which coincided with the ongoing Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) security conference in the city. However, none of the explosions occurred in the immediate vicinity of the conference location, where police officers had discovered two suspicious packages — which were later determined to be harmless — the previous day.

EUROPE

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 2): On 1 August 2019, authorities evacuated the town of Whaley Bridge — located approximately 30 km (20 mi) southeast of Manchester — after a nearby dam began to collapse due to flooding. Approximately 6,500 people were evacuated as engineers attempted to divert water out of the Toddbrook Reservoir and stabilize the dam to bring down water levels. Government officials stated that they will continue to assess the damage. Meanwhile, the amount of water flowing into the reservoir has been significantly reduced.

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 2): Employees of Heathrow Airport (EGLL/LHR) are expected to observe a strike on 5-6 August 2019 over an ongoing wage dispute between the airport and the Unite union. Unite has stated that approximately 4,000 union members — including operations engineers, security staff and passenger service staff — are expected to walk out. Airport officials have asked airlines to reduce the number of flights scheduled to operate through the airport in order to minimize disruptions resulting from decreased security capacity. Union members are expected to vote on a new offer by the airport and negotiations are expected to continue through the weekend. Travelers should check with their airlines to determine the status of their flights.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 1 August 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Announced gathering points include, but are not limited to, the following places in Bamako, Mali:

  • Place CAN in ACI 2000
  • Monument Bougiba

“Events: A demonstration against the presence of foreign security forces in Mali is scheduled to take place August 2nd, starting at 1400. The march will go from the Place CAN to the Monument Bougiba. While the demonstrations are intended to be peaceful, recent events have encountered a strong police/security force presence, the use of tear gas, and other riot control measures.
“U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the listed locations on August 2nd, 2019.”

Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 2 August 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows:

“Location: Yangon, Burma

“Event: There will be a demonstration tomorrow, August 3, 2019 from 1:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. regarding the recent U.S. government visa designations on high-ranking Burmese military officials. Protestors will gather east of the Shwedagon Pagoda near the Shwe Gone Daing flyover and will march south along Kabar Aye Pagoda Road to Maha Bandoola Park (City Hall). U.S. Embassy staff are advised to avoid this area during the times of the protest.”

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 2 August 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Moscow, Russia – Downtown Moscow along the Boulevard Ring Road

“Event: Supporters of unregistered opposition candidates for the Moscow City Duma election plan to gather and march on Saturday, August 3, 2019, beginning at 1400. Gathering points along Moscow’s Boulevard Ring include Pokrovskiye Vorota, Nikitskiye Vorota, Trubnaya Square, Turgenevskaya Square, and Novopushinsky Park. Heavy police presence is expected.

“The protest rally has not been sanctioned by authorities. Given the possible size of the protest and the large police presence, U.S. citizens should avoid the protest route.”

Rwanda (Security threat level – 3): On 2 August 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Rwanda, which reads in part as follows: “On 1 August 2019 border restrictions were temporarily put in place for those travelling between Goma and Rwanda, these have since been lifted but the potential for further disruption remains. The Rwandan government has put in place screening procedures for Ebola at all entry points, including land borders and at airports. Specific requirements remain in place for anyone wishing to enter Rwanda from Ebola-affected areas of DRC. The latest updates can be found on the World Health Organization website . ”

Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 2 August 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Throughout Ukraine

“Event: ISIS and other extremist groups tend to use holiday periods to further their agenda and conduct attacks. Holidays, and the period leading up to that holiday, can be targeted. During the month of August, the Islamic holiday of Eid-al Adha (August 11-12) and Ukrainian Independence Day (August 24) are examples. Locations that are usually targeted are crowded venues such as public events, nightclubs, rallies or other areas where people congregate. During these periods it is important to be vigilant and use good situational awareness practices.”