Worldview Security Update – July 15, 2019
15-Jul-19

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 0400 local time (0900 UTC) on 15 July 2019, Tropical Depression Barry was located approximately 120 mi (190 km) southeast of Fayetteville, Arkansas, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). At that point, the storm was moving north at a speed of 9 mph (14 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 25 mph with higher gusts. The NHC forecasts the storm to produce additional rainfall of 2-4 inches (50-100 mm) across Arkansas, Kentucky, western Tennessee and northwestern Mississippi, while central Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi are expected to receive an additional 4-6 inches of rain. Flash Flood Watches are in effect for northern and central Mississippi, portions of eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee and southeastern Texas. A Flash Flood Watch, Flash Flood Warning and a Flood Warning are in effect for Calcasieu County, Louisiana. Flood warnings are also in effect for areas located along the Mississippi River. Approximately 51,000 Louisiana residents, 6,000 Texas residents and 3,700 Mississippi residents are without power.

Barry made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Marsh Island, located approximately 130 mi west-southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, on 13 July. The storm brought 12-15 inches of rain to south-central Louisiana and 8 inches of rain to the counties of Jasper and Jones in Mississippi. The storm was subsequently downgraded to a tropical depression. On the same day, authorities canceled all flights operating through Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (KBTR/BTR) and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (KMSY/MSY). Operations at both airports resumed on 14 July.

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1900 local time (2300 UTC) on 13 July 2019, a power outage struck parts of New York’s Midtown and Upper West Side neighborhoods in Manhattan. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the outage caused disruptions at a number of underground stations in the affected areas. Businesses, hotels and traffic services, such as stoplights, were also affected by the outage, causing traffic and service disruptions. Power was restored to the area approximately five hours after the power outage began. A city official stated that a nearby transformer fire caused the blackout.

ASIA

Bangladesh / India / Nepal (Security threat levels – 4 / 3 / 3): Officials reported on 15 July 2019 that ongoing monsoon rains have caused flooding and landslides across Nepal, northern India and Bangladesh since 12 July. The Nepalese government has launched a search and rescue operation and mobilized the Nepalese army and paramilitary forces, as much of the country — including Kathmandu — has been affected by flooding, and over 16,520 households have been displaced. Government officials in Nepal stated that at least 65 people were killed, 38 were injured and an additional 30 are missing. In India, flooding has affected the northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Bihar. Officials stated that at least 14 people were killed and more than 1 million have been affected by the flooding. In Bangladesh, aid groups are providing humanitarian assistance to Rohingya Muslim refugees encamped in largely makeshift shelters in the country’s southeast. At least two people have died in Bangladesh, according to a U.N. official. The monsoon season in South Asia lasts from June to September.

China (Security threat level – 3): On 14 July 2019, tens of thousands of demonstrators attended a peaceful protest in Hong Kong’s Sha Tin district to call for Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation and an investigation into complaints of police violence. After nightfall, riot police officers scuffled with hundreds of protesters. Protesters hurled objects at officers, who responded with pepper spray and used batons against the crowd. Earlier on 14 July, reporters peacefully marched from the Legislative Complex to the police headquarters in Hong Kong’s Central district to call on the government to “stop police violence” and “defend press freedom.”

On the previous night, approximately 30,000 demonstrators protested against traders from mainland China in Hong Kong’s Sheung Shui district, located in New Territories. The protest was largely peaceful and concluded by 1700 local time (0900 UTC). However, a group of protesters later clashed with police officers. Riot police officers then dispersed the crowds. By 1900 the situation was largely calm, and by 2000 most protesters had left the area.

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): At 1610 local time (0910 UTC) on 14 July 2019, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 100 km (60 mi) south of the city of Weda, located on Halmahera island in North Maluku province, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake had an estimated depth of 10 km. There were at least 65 aftershocks, including a 5.7 magnitude quake that was centered approximately 100 km north of Laiwui and that was measured at a depth of 10 km. Thousands of people fled in fear of a tsunami and took shelter in schools and government offices, but authorities did not issue a tsunami warning. The quake caused damage to at least two bridges and to approximately 160 residences in South Halmahera district, but otherwise there were no reports of damage to major infrastructure. Two people were killed after being struck by debris. Government officials are distributing emergency relief supplies to evacuees.

Kazakhstan (Security threat level – 3): As of 15 July 2019, a power outage is ongoing across almost all districts of Almaty, causing severe traffic disruptions. Authorities deployed approximately 400 police officers to direct traffic after most stoplights ceased working in the city. Almaty’s subway system has also halted operations as a result of the blackout. The cause of the power outage remains unclear.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): Early on 15 July 2019, fans celebrating the Algerian national soccer team’s qualification for the final of the Africa Cup of Nations clashed with police officers in Paris, Lyon and Marseille. In Paris, thousands of celebrators gathered along Champs-Élysées avenue, disrupting traffic. Groups of fans threw projectiles at police officers and refused to disperse, prompting security personnel to deploy tear gas and use batons against the fans. In Marseille, fans attempted to gather at the Old Port of Marseille, but police officers prevented them from doing so. Police officers also fired tear gas near the Porte d’Aix arch after fans threw firecrackers and smoke bombs. In Lyon, fans set fire to vehicles. The Interior Ministry reported that police officers arrested 282 people nationwide.

France (Security threat level – 3): On 14 July 2019, police officers clashed with “yellow vest” protesters on Champs-Élysées avenue following a Bastille Day military parade in Paris. Approximately 200 protesters attempted to occupy and block the avenue after authorities reopened it following the parade. Protesters also threw projectiles at police officers and set fire to trash bins. In response, police officers fired tear gas and pepper spray, forcing the protesters to retreat to side streets and erect new roadblocks. Police officers restored order later that evening and arrested more than 150 people. There were no reports of injuries.

Sweden (Security threat level – 2): On 14 July 2019, a GippsAero GA-8 Airvan crashed after takeoff from Umeå Airport (ESNU/UME) outside of the northern town of Umeå. The aircraft sent out an alert shortly before it spiraled nose-first onto an island in the Ume River after the pilot apparently lost control. The aircraft — which was owned and operated by Skydive Umeå — was carrying nine occupants at the time of the crash. All occupants were killed in the accident. Government officials are investigating the cause of the crash.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 5): On 14 July 2019, Congolese health officials announced the first confirmed case of Ebola virus disease in Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu. The patient tested positive for the virus after arriving at an Ebola center in the city by bus from Butembo — located approximately 200 km (125 mi) north of Goma — earlier that day. Health authorities have identified and tracked all other passengers on the bus; the passengers and bus driver will be vaccinated on 15 July. The Congolese Ministry of Health stated that the risk of the disease spreading to the rest of Goma is low due to the speed at which the case was identified and isolated, as well as the identification of the other passengers on the bus. Goma is a major commercial hub located on the Rwandan border; authorities first launched activities to prepare for a potential outbreak in the city in November 2018.

Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 12 July 2019, militants stormed the Asasey Hotel in the port city of Kismayo, in Somalia’s autonomous Jubaland region. A suicide bomber first rammed a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) into the facility, after which three militants entered the hotel firing guns. An 11-hour siege ensued. The attackers killed 26 people, including foreign nationals from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, and injured at least 56 others. The al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. This is the deadliest attack in Kismayo since al-Shabab was driven out of the city in 2012.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3):

On 15 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in La Paz issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: La Paz
  • “Event: La Paz transportation unions announced a city-wide strike and protest starting Monday, July 15, at 6 a.m. which could result in road blockades, transportation disruptions, and demonstrations. These activities could affect the availability of public transportation in the city of La Paz and connections with other cities and on major roads in Bolivia. The Embassy is expected to be open for normal operations, however, applicants for consular services that are unable to reach the Embassy due to the strike activity may contact the Embassy and will have their appointments rescheduled for another day.”
  • Haiti (Security threat level – 4):
    On 15 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Carradeux
  • “Events: Reports of roadblocks and burning tires in Carradeux being placed by SMGRS workers. Please avoid the area at this time.”
  • Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 12 July 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Abuja issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Location: Countrywide
  • “Event: The U.S. Mission in Nigeria advises U.S. citizens that large demonstrations by protesters affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Nigeria are expected in the coming days throughout the country, including Abuja and Lagos. Protests by this group in the Nigerian capital on July 9 became violent, including exchanges of gunfire between protestors and Nigerian Police, resulting in a couple of deaths. The U.S. Mission advises its citizens to avoid these demonstrations and remain in safe areas during these periods.”
  • 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.