Worldview Security Update – June 26, 2019
26-Jun-19

AMERICAS

Panama / Costa Rica (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): At 0023 local time (0523 UTC) on 26 June 2019, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Panama’s Chiriquí province, located along the country’s border with Costa Rica. The quake was centered approximately 35 km (22 mi) west of David, Panama, and about 12 km from Paso Canoas, Costa Rica, and had a depth of 26 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Shaking was felt across Panama and Costa Rica, including in the respective capital cities of Panama City and San Jose. At least 10 aftershocks were recorded after the initial earthquake.

Officials reported that the earthquake caused power outages in southern Costa Rica and that authorities were working to restore electricity in the affected areas. However, there were no reports of significant damage or casualties in either Costa Rica or Panama.

EUROPE

Austria / Belgium / Czech Republic / Denmark / France / Germany / Hungary / Luxembourg / Netherlands / Switzerland / United Kingdom / Italy (Security threat levels – 2 / 3 / 2 / 2 / 3 / 3 / 2 / 1 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 3): As of 26 June 2019, Europe is expected to experience high temperatures as a heat wave sweeps across Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Temperatures are expected to rise to 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) from central France to northern Spain, while temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius and above are expected across other European countries. Authorities have issued alerts across Western Europe and implemented measures — such as opening fountains, pools and mist machines, and limiting the circulation of vehicles in larger cities — as a means to combat the rise in temperatures. Bus and train operations in several countries have been disrupted due to malfunctioning air conditioning and due to the temperatures of the train tracks. Officials have warned of continued transportation disruptions and asked people to stay hydrated and avoid getting overheated. Hot air moving north from Africa caused the heat wave and is expected to continue to cause above average temperatures until 30 June.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Guinea (Security threat level – 4): Reports on 26 June 2019 indicate that a protest in Conakry’s Matoto quartier has turned violent. Protesters in Matoto’s Dabondy-rails sector burned tires on the N1 thoroughfare and threw stones at security officers, who deployed tear gas to disperse the crowd. Traffic disruptions in the area are highly likely over the next several hours. Residents took to the streets to protest a power outage ahead of the African Cup of Nations soccer match between Guinea and Nigeria, which is scheduled to begin at 1430 local time/UTC. Similar demonstrations broke out across Conakry from 22-23 June.

Mauritania (Security threat level – 4): On 25 June 2019, reports emerged that security forces had raided the headquarters of two opposition presidential election candidates in Nouakchott the previous night. In a statement, the spokesperson for opposition candidate Biram Dah Abeid claimed that police officers fired tear gas grenades inside the headquarters and vandalized the building, rendering the offices unusable. Meanwhile, opposition candidates reported that security personnel raided and subsequently closed the headquarters of opposition candidate Kane Hamidou Baba. There were no reports of injuries or arrests in the raids.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 26 June 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Ethiopia, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Funerals of those who died in and subsequent to the 22 June attack in Bahir Dar are likely to take place in the second half of this week. Until these are concluded, the situation is likely to remain changeable with a high security presence. Roads may continue to be closed at short notice. If you’re in Bahir Dar or the surrounding areas you’re advised to retain a low profile and follow the advice of local authorities. British Embassy staff have been advised to postpone travel to Bahir Dar until next week. Internet connections, including mobile data, may be intermittent over this period, and beyond.”
  • Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 25 June 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Conakry issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

  • “Event: The Guinean National Football team is participating in the Africa Cup tournament between 21 June 2019 and 19 July 2019.
  • “On days and times when the Guinean team plays, expect deteriorating traffic conditions before and after the game. If power cuts occur and interrupt the game, significant unrest, including youths blocking traffic, burning tires, and throwing rocks can be expected.
  • “Please note days and times the Guinean team will be playing and plan your travel accordingly.
  • “On Wednesday, June 26, 2019 pickup for issued US passports and visas has been cancelled. US passports and visas can be picked up during normal Friday pickup hours, from 10 a.m. until noon.”
    Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 25 June 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel advisory for Saudi Arabia, which reads in part as follows: “Exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia due to terrorism and the threat of missile and drone attacks on civilian targets.
  • “Do not travel to:
    Within 50 miles of the border with Yemen due to terrorism and armed conflict.”
    The full text of the travel advisory can be viewed here.
  • Zimbabwe (Security threat level – 4): On 26 June 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Zimbabwe, which reads in part as follows:

    “Zimbabwe’s economic situation remains unpredictable. As of 24 June 2019, the only legal tender in Zimbabwe is the “Zimbabwe Dollar”. This includes Zimbabwean bond notes, bond coins and mobile money such as ECOCASH: currently, there is no new “Zimbabwe dollar” note. There is a shortage of physical cash and it’s currently not possible to make cash withdrawals using an international bank card. You should check with your tour operator or hotel what payment methods will be accepted. There are some bureau de change which will accept and change foreign currency, particularly US dollars. In shops and businesses you should check before making a transaction whether the price quoted is in Zimbabwean (RTGS) or US dollars as the symbol for both is $. It is recommended to check exchange rates prior to any transaction. Stock levels in supermarkets, including some basic commodities, are inconsistent. Some businesses, including some medical providers, may not accept payment by credit or debit card. Banks are experiencing challenges dispensing foreign currency cash including for international transfers from outside of Zimbabwe.”

    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.