Worldview Security Update – September 17, 2019
17-Sep-19

AMERICAS

Bermuda / United States (Security threat levels – 1 / 2): As of 1200 UTC on 17 September 2019, Hurricane Humberto was located approximately 895 km (555 mi) west of Bermuda and was moving east-northeast at about 13 kph (8 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC). At that time, Humberto was generating maximum sustained winds of 160 kph with higher gusts. The latest forecasts suggest that Humberto will strengthen to become a major hurricane by the night of 17-18 September and will gradually accelerate in the same direction through the early hours of 19 September. The center of the hurricane is expected to approach Bermuda on the night of 18 September. Hurricane-generated swells will increase along the coast of Bermuda by 18 September; large swells will continue to affect most of the northwestern Bahamas as well as the southeastern coast of the United States from east-central Florida to North Carolina during the next 48 hours. These swells could produce hazardous surf and riptide conditions in the aforementioned areas. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for Bermuda, where 25-75 mm (1-3 in) of rain is in the forecast beginning later on 17 September.

El Salvador / Guatemala / Honduras / Nicaragua (Security threat levels – 4 / 4 / 4 / 4): At approximately 1200 local time (1800 UTC) on 16 September 2019, a large-scale power outage hit at least four countries in Central America, affecting all of Honduras, as well as parts of El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The power outage lasted for more than two hours and caused severe traffic disruptions in major cities in Honduras, including the capital Tegucigalpa and the northern city of San Pedro Sula, due to non-functioning stoplights and traffic signals. In downtown Tegucigalpa, traffic congestion was severe on Morazán de Tegucigalpa Boulevard — a major thoroughfare in the city — while San Pedro Sula’s ring road was the most affected in that city. Meanwhile, in Nicaragua — which experienced the most significant disruptions after Honduras — the capital Managua and 15 additional provinces remained without electricity for the two-hour period, during which water supply in those areas was also disrupted.

In El Salvador, the blackout affected the metropolitan area of the capital San Salvador. Additionally, Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala, lost power in Zones 2, 5, 10, 11 and 16. The effects of the outage were not as severe in El Salvador and Guatemala. There were no reports of notable flight disruptions at any of the major airports in the region during the power outage. The Honduran state-owned power company National Electrical Energy Company (ENEE) took responsibility for the blackout and stated that an overload at a substation, located on the Caribbean coast, caused the outage; the blackout affected the other three countries in the region due to grid interconnectivity. Costa Rica and Panama — both of which remained unaffected during this episode — also share an interconnected electrical network with the other four countries in the region.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 16 September 2019, anti-government protesters disrupted all daily routine activities, including transportation services, in the capital Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. In Port-au-Prince, protesters set up roadblocks and staged demonstrations, causing severe transportation disruptions. There were reports of roadblocks comprising burning tires at a number of locations in the city, including on Airport Road, and in the communes of Bourdon, Christ-Roi, Croix-des-Bouquêts, Delmas, Lalue, Nazon and Pétion-ville. Sporadic protests also occurred at the aforementioned locations. Fuel shortages and corruption allegations against President Jovenel Moise prompted the anti-government protest actions, which are likely to continue on 17-18 September.

ASIA

Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): Shortly after 1300 local time (0830 UTC) on 17 September 2019, a suicide attacker detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near Massoud Square in Kabul’s Police District 9. The explosion occurred near buildings of the Ministry of Defense. Reports indicate that at least 22 people were killed and 38 others were injured in the blast.

Earlier, at approximately 1140 local time (0710 UTC), another bombing targeted President Ashraf Ghani’s election campaign rally in Charikar, the provincial capital of Parwan, located nearly 70 km (45 mi) north of Kabul. A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle detonated an IED at a security checkpoint outside the rally venue as Ghani began addressing the crowd; Ghani escaped unharmed. At least 26 attendees were killed and 42 others were injured in this attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks.

China (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 0830 local time (0030 UTC) on 17 September 2019, a Mass Transit Railway (MTR) East Rail Line train derailed near Hong Kong’s Hung Hom MTR station. Following the derailment, transportation officials closed the station and suspended services between Hong Hum and Mong Kok East stations. At least eight people were injured in the event. Vehicular traffic was also disrupted on Hong Chong road, which runs parallel to the tracks, after authorities stationed a crane to remove the derailed carriages. In order to manage evening rush hour traffic, public bus operator Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) scheduled additional bus services in the area. The derailment reportedly occurred at a diverting point on the rail line, where trains are computer-controlled; an investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the accident.

EUROPE

Italy (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1100 local time (0900 UTC) on 17 September 2019, an assailant armed with a pair of scissors stabbed a soldier stationed outside the Milano Centrale Railway Station in central Milan. Security personnel in the area arrested the perpetrator immediately following the attack. The soldier – who suffered non-life threatening wounds — was transported to a hospital for treatment. Local media sources have reported that the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar” during his arrest; police officers are investigating to determine if the attack was terrorism- related.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ghana (Security threat level – 3): On 17 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Accra issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: All regions of Ghana
“Event: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 2 travel notice for travelers to Ghana due to a polio outbreak. CDC recommends that travelers practice enhanced precautions. The full notice can be read here .
“Actions to Take:

  • All travelers to Ghana should be vaccinated fully against polio.
  • Before traveling to Ghana, adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of polio vaccine.
  • Visit the CDC Traveler’s Health Page for travelers to Ghana to learn more.”