Worldview Security Update – October 30, 2019
30-Oct-19

AMERICAS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 30 October 2019, President Sebastián Piñera announced the cancellation of both the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, which was scheduled to occur in Santiago from 16-17 November, and the COP25 climate change summit in December, due to the ongoing protests. In a statement announcing the cancellations, Piñera reported that authorities’ main concern at present is reestablishing public order, pursuing the government’s social agenda to meet citizens’ demands and maintaining the safety of the Chilean citizenry.

Meanwhile, disruptive protests and roadblocks continued in several locations across Chile on the morning of 30 October. In the Santiago Metropolitan Area, unknown persons set up roadblocks along Route Nacional 5 at the intersection of Catorce de la Fama and in the Quilcura sector in the early morning hours, disrupting traffic leading to the city center; the blockades have since been lifted. In the Valparaíso region, a protest along Route 68 in the Villa Alemana sector led to lane reductions along the highway in the direction of Viña del Mar. Meanwhile, protesters in Santiago plan to march from Plaza Italia — also known as Plaza Baquedano — to La Moneda Palace beginning at 1100 local time (1400 UTC). While there are no additional planned protests for 30 October, sporadic protests are likely to occur throughout the day.

As planned, the Santiago Metro resumed limited operations at 0700 local time on 30 October following the suspension of overnight operations in anticipation of planned protests on 29 October. Flight operations at Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCEL/SCL) continue as normal.

Meanwhile, clashes between protesters and security officers — as well as several incidents of looting and arson — continued during the evening of 29 October and overnight into 30 October. In Santiago, looters targeted several commercial establishments, including multiple stores located along Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins, which is popularly known as La Alameda. These included, but were not limited to: Maicao, Claro, Xiaomi, Tricoti, Farmacias Ahumada, Unimarc supermarket and the Pronto Copec fast food restaurant. Fires were also reported throughout the city, including at several of the aforementioned establishments and metro stations. In addition, security personnel deployed tear gas during clashes between protesters, looters and arsonists throughout the capital. Elsewhere, clashes between protesters and security personnel continued in Concepción after officers deployed tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

Earlier in the evening, security personnel deployed tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Santiago’s Plaza Italia. Simultaneously, protesters clashed with security forces in Reñaca, which is located approximately 550 m (1,800 ft) from Plaza Italia.
United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 30 October 2019, a state of emergency remains active in the state of California due to wildfires burning in Northern and Southern California. Authorities implemented High Wind Warnings for several areas, including counties that are currently affected by wildfires.

In Southern California, the Getty Fire in Los Angeles County has consumed 656 acres (265 hectares) of land and destroyed 14 structures; the blaze is 15% contained. Authorities stated that the fire started after a tree fell onto power lines in Sepulveda Pass, the mountain pass that connects the Los Angeles Basin to the San Fernando Valley. The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued a smoke advisory for parts of Los Angeles, the coast between Santa Monica and Ventura County and the San Fernando Valley. Live updates on the fire and evacuation information are available here .

The nearby Tick Fire, which is burning northeast of Santa Clarita, is 90% contained; the Saddle Ridge Fire, which has consumed 8,799 acres in the area west of San Fernando thus far, is 98% contained.
Meanwhile, in Northern California, mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect for approximately 156,000 people in Sonoma County due to the Kincade Fire. At this time, the fire has consumed at least 76,000 acres of land and is 15% contained. The blaze has destroyed at least 189 structures and continues to threaten over 80,000 buildings, most of which are homes. At least two firefighters have been injured while battling the fire. A map displaying real-time fire and evacuation information for Sonoma County is available here . The Burris Fire — which broke out over the weekend of 26-27 October — has slowly dissipated and is now 75% contained. Additional information regarding fires burning across the state of California can be found here .

As of the morning of 30 October, approximately 510,000 residents from 22 counties remain without power. Officials with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) stated that power will be restored after the high winds die down and the utility company conducts safety checks and repairs any equipment damage. In addition, PG&E did not carry out previously planned shutoffs set to impact Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties due to favorable weather conditions. Meanwhile, Southern California Edison, an electricity supply company in Southern California, shut off power for approximately 14,600 customers on 30 October due to anticipated strong Santa Ana winds expected to affect Southern California and northern Mexico’s Baja California state, including the area where the Getty Fire is located.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): Multiple demonstrations are planned in Hong Kong during the evening of 31 October 2019. Demonstrators plan to hold a sit-in assembly at Prince Edward MTR Station to mark the two-month anniversary of violence at the station between protesters and police officers between 1900 and 2300 local time (1100 and 1500 UTC). Due to vandalism in recent weeks, MTR officials have begun to suspend MTR services across the territory each day at 2300 local time; however, authorities announced on 30 October that they would close Prince Edward station at 1400 local time on 31 October. As a result, protesters are likely to gather outside the nearby Mong Kok police station. Additionally, beginning at 2000 local time, protesters plan to march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Lan Kwai Fong in Central. Organizers have recommended that participants wear red clothes and masks, despite the recent ban on facial coverings at public gatherings. Organizers plan to close the initial gathering point by 2045 local time, and the protest is scheduled to end by 2200 local time. Large crowds are expected at the demonstration, given Lan Kwai Fong’s status as a popular nightlife location, as well as Halloween celebrations that take place in the area every year.

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 30 October 2019, the Azadi March — a protest march by opposition parties led by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) — reached Lahore after beginning in Karachi and other cities on 27 October. In Lahore, thousands of protesters gathered at the Azadi Chowk interchange, where JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman delivered a speech. The march is expected to arrive in Islamabad by 31 October. In Islamabad, protest organizers have agreed to hold demonstrations near the Itwar Bazar area in the city’s H-9 district. While there have been no reports of violence since the march began, it has caused traffic disruptions in the vicinity of protest venues due to the large number of participants; these disruptions are expected to continue.

Vietnam / Cambodia / Laos (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 0900 UTC on 30 October 2019, Tropical Storm Matmo — which formed during the evening of 29 October — was located approximately 425 km (265 mi) southeast of Da Nang and was moving west-northwest at 17 kph (10 mph). At that time, Matmo was generating maximum sustained winds of 74 kph with gusts of up to 93 kph. Matmo is expected to make landfall in either the Phu Yen or the Binh Dinh province by 1800 UTC (0100 local time on 31 October). After landfall, the storm is forecast to track across northeastern Cambodia, where it is expected to dissipate by 1 November. Rainfall of between 200 and 300 mm (8 and 12 in) is expected in areas in the storm’s path.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): Significant travel disruptions are expected in Paris during the Toussaint (All Saint’s Day) holiday weekend beginning on 1 November 2019 due to notable modernization projects planned by French rail operator SNCF on the Réseau Express Régional (RER) train network through the weekend. RER lines A, C, L, J and N will be closed and replaced by bus services. Additionally, sections of the RER B line that services Charles de Gaulle Airport (LFPG/CDG) will be closed. SNCF has warned travelers to plan for longer than usual travel times.
Additionally, TGV rail workers called for strikes over work conditions during the 1 November holiday weekend. SNCF announced plans to add additional staff and trains to minimize disruptions in preparation for the strike, and expects approximately 80% of services to be operational. Strike actions by rail workers since the previous week have forced SNCF to cancel train services connecting Bordeaux, Nantes, Paris, Rennes, Saint-Malo and Toulouse throughout the past week.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 30 October 2019, police officers fired rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse a group of several hundred sit-in protesters outside the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Cape Town’s central business district. Police officers arrested at least 100 participants and there were reports of injuries among the protesters. A recent eviction order filed by a local business that housed some of the protesters during the sit-in prompted the dispersal. Demonstrators began the sit-in several weeks ago to demand that the UNHCR assist foreign nationals leaving South Africa following recent incidents of xenophobic violence.

WORLD

Israel / World (Security threat level – 3): As of 30 October 2019, Israeli diplomatic facilities worldwide are closed following the start of a strike by diplomats and military envoys late on the evening of 29 October. In a statement, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that consular services will not be provided and individuals will not be allowed into embassy or consulate buildings. The mass closures are likely to affect Israelis traveling to foreign countries and those in need of emergency services. In addition, the border between Israel and the Palestinian Territories has been closed. Information regarding when the foreign missions will reopen is currently unavailable. Diplomatic personnel launched the strike due to a dispute over expense stipends for foreign envoys.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 29 October 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Kenya, which reads in part as follows: “In response to 2 recent incidents involving Silverstone Air Services, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is conducting an audit inspection of the airline to determine the level of compliance with civil aviation regulations."
Analyst Comment: KCAA’s planned audit follows two recent incidents involving Silverstone Air aircraft, which occurred on 11 and 28 October. In the first incident, a Fokker 50 aircraft skidded off the runway during takeoff from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport (HKNW/WIL); at least seven of the 55 individuals on board were injured. Separately, on 28 October, a Bombardier Dash 8-300 aircraft performed an emergency landing at Eldoret International Airport (HKEL/EDL) after reportedly losing a tire shortly after takeoff; there were no reports of injuries among the four passengers and five crew members on board.

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 29 October 2019, the U.S. Department of State updated its Level 3 Travel Advisory for Nigeria. The advisory reads in part as follows:
"Reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime, which includes kidnappings, hijackings, boardings, theft, etc. Some areas have increased risk.
"Do Not Travel to:

  • Borno and Yobe States and Northern Adamawa State due to terrorism
  • Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe states due to kidnapping
  • Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime

“Country Summary: Violent crime – such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, and rape – is common throughout the country. Exercise extreme caution throughout the country due to the threat of indiscriminate violence.
“Terrorists continue plotting and carrying out attacks in Nigeria, especially in the Northeast. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting shopping centers, malls, markets, hotels, places of worship, restaurants, bars, schools, government installations, transportation hubs, and other places where crowds gather.
“Sporadic violence occurs between communities of farmers and herders in rural areas.
“There is maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Nigeria due to security conditions.”

The full text of the travel advisory is available here .