Worldview Security Update – September 14, 2020
14-Sep-20

AMERICAS

Bermuda (Security threat level – 1): Hurricane Paulette made landfall in Bermuda as a Category 1 storm in the early hours of 14 September 2020. As of 0900 local time (1200 UTC), the center of the hurricane was located over northeastern Bermuda, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Paulette was generating maximum sustained winds of 155 kph (95 mph), with higher gusts, and moving north-northwest at 29 kph (12 mph). The tropical-storm-force winds are expected to continue affecting the island until the early afternoon hours of 14 September, when the storm will likely turn northward. A Hurricane Warning remains in place for Bermuda. Paulette is forecast to produce 75-150 mm (3-6 in) of rain on the island.

Presently, at least 23,000 people are without power on Bermuda, as the storm downed power lines throughout the island. The movement of all emergency response vehicles on the island was suspended as of 0030 local time. L.F. Wade International Airport (TXKF/BDA) remains closed until 1200 local time on 15 September; officials suspended operations at the facility on the evening of 13 September ahead of the hurricane’s arrival. Government offices remain closed until 15 September.

Ecuador / Venezuela (Security threat levels – 3 / 5): On 13 September 2020, officials in Ecuador announced that the countrywide state of emergency enacted in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will end at 2359 local time on 13 September (0459 UTC on 14 September). Authorities stated that local governments will then be responsible for taking necessary measures to control the spread of COVID-19. The country’s borders will remain closed until further notice.

In Venezuela, authorities on 12 September extended the current suspension of all inbound and outbound international commercial passenger flights, as well as domestic commercial flights, until at least 12 October. The measure was due to expire on 12 September. The suspension does not apply to commercial cargo, humanitarian, medical or repatriation flights, which remain exempt from the restrictions.

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 0700 local time (1200 UTC) on 14 September 2020, Tropical Storm Sally was located approximately 115 mi (185 km) east-southeast of the entrance of the Mississippi River, and about 165 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that point, the storm was tracking west-northwest at 8 mph (13 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, with higher gusts. On the current forecast path, Sally will approach southeastern Louisiana later in the afternoon hours and come ashore as at least a Category 1 hurricane along coastal areas near the Louisiana-Mississippi border on 15 September. Sally is then expected to gradually move to the north-northeast near the northern Gulf Coast through 16 September.

Sally is expected to produce 8 to 16 in (200-400 mm) of rain, with isolated maximums of 24 inches, over parts of the central Gulf Coast from the western Florida Panhandle to far-southeastern Louisiana through 16 September. As the storm moves farther inland on 16 September, it is expected to produce 6-12 inches of rain across parts of southeastern Mississippi and Alabama. Additional heavy rain is expected across parts of eastern Tennessee, northern Georgia and western North Carolina from 17-18 September. The heavy rains could cause life-threatening flash floods in the affected areas. There is a threat of tornados in coastal areas of the Florida Panhandle, Mississippi, Alabama, and far-southeastern Louisiana beginning on the afternoon of 14 September and continuing until 15 September.

A Hurricane Warning is currently in effect for areas from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Mississippi border, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, including the New Orleans metropolitan area. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for areas from Port Fourchon, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida Border, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, Lake Borgne and Alabama’s Mobile Bay. Meanwhile, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for areas from the Alabama-Mississippi border to Indian Pass, Florida, and Intracoastal City to west of Morgan City in Louisiana. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for areas from the Alabama-Mississippi border to the Alabama-Florida border, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for areas from Indian Pass to Ochlockonee River.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Israel / Saudi Arabia (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 13 September 2020, the Israeli government authorized a nationwide lockdown, which is set to begin on 18 September, due to an increasing COVID-19 infection rate in the country. The lockdown will begin at 1400 local time (1200 UTC) and last until 9 October. Under the terms of the lockdown, individuals will only be allowed to travel up to 500 m (550 yd) from their residences for exercise. Exemptions are in place for those traveling to workplaces. All schools and nonessential businesses will shut down during the lockdown, although grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. Indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people are banned.

Saudi authorities announced on 13 September that they will partially lift the suspension of international flights beginning on 15 September. Starting on that date, certain individuals, including military personnel, diplomats, government employees, individuals working or studying abroad and individuals in need of medical treatment, will be allowed to travel overseas. Additionally, citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and lawful residents of GCC member states with valid visas will be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia, provided that they have proof of a negative result on a COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to travel to Saudi Arabia. International flights to and from Saudi Arabia were suspended in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities stated that they will annul all travel restrictions in January 2021.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): At 2359 local time (2259 UTC) on 13 September 2020, Nigeria’s Joint Health Sector Union launched a week-long countrywide strike to demand wage arrears, better working conditions and a review of coronavirus-related allowances. Members of the union, including lab technicians, nurses and pharmacists, will observe the labor action at health care facilities operated by the federal government; those working at facilities operated by state and local governments are not expected to participate in the strike. The union, which represents several health care worker associations in the country, has warned that it will stage an indefinite strike if the government fails to fulfill its demands within seven days. The latest protest action follows another strike organized by the National Association of Resident Doctors, which concluded on 10 September following a meeting with government officials.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 12 September 2020, the U.S Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert warning of increased violent protests in Port-au-Prince, which reads in part as follows:

"Events: Violent protests are occurring throughout Port-au-Prince and have the potential to spread and/or arise unexpectedly. Please avoid unnecessary travel within Port-au-Prince at this time. Travel for U.S. Embassy employees is restricted to Tabarre and employees are advised to avoid all travel until further notice."

The full text of the Security Alert can be read here .

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 14 September 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad has received reports of a recent increase in street crimes in Islamabad. Most incidents have taken place in sectors G-6, F-6, F-7, F-10, I-9, and I-10. These street crimes have included muggings, armed robberies, and thefts of mobile phones, purses, and automobiles. U.S. citizens are reminded that police response times to reported crimes can vary. U.S. citizens traveling within these sectors and especially while visiting markets should exercise caution and remain alert. Embassy operations are normal.”

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 11 September 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for the U.S. to include the following information regarding major wildfires:

"A number of unprecedented large-scale wildfires are burning across the West Coast states of the USA. California, Oregon and Washington have been particularly badly hit and currently are under a state of emergency. See the Californian Department of Forestry and Fire Protection website for a detailed fire incident map. Incident maps for Oregon and Washington can be found on the Northwest Interagency Coordination Centre website. Fires are also burning in Montana, Idaho and Alaska on a smaller scale. Those in affected areas should monitor local media and weather reports  and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders and guidance to remain indoors due to poor air quality."