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

AMERICAS

Bermuda (Security threat level – 1): On 19 September 2019, emergency responders in Bermuda were working to assess the damage and clear debris from roadways following the passage of Hurricane Humberto — a Category 3 storm — within approximately 120 km (75 mi) of the island the previous day. Public bus service on the island is currently suspended and authorities have urged residents to stay off the roads until downed trees and other debris can be removed. As of last report, more than 28,000 homes and businesses were without electricity. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s L.F. Wade International Airport (TXKF/BDA) shut down operations after 1500 local time (1800 UTC) on 18 September and all flights scheduled to arrive at the facility were canceled; at least two New York-bound flights have been canceled on the morning of 19 September, but flights are expected to resume later in the day.

As of 0600 local time on 19 September, Humberto was located approximately 400 km northeast of Bermuda and was moving to the northeast at a speed of 35 kph (22 mph). At that time, Humberto was generating maximum sustained winds of 205 kph with higher gusts. While hurricane-generated swells and hazardous surf are expected to continue affecting the Bermudan coast on 19 September, storm surge and tidal waves will likely subside by the evening hours. Humberto is forecast to weaken and become a post-tropical cyclone by 20 September.

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): As of 1200 UTC on 19 September 2019, Tropical Storm Jerry was located approximately 845 km (525 mi) east of the Leeward Islands, and was moving west-northwest at about 26 kph (16 mph). At that time, Jerry was generating maximum sustained winds of 110 kph with higher gusts. The storm is expected to track near or north of the northern Leeward Islands on 20 September before passing north of Puerto Rico on 21 September.

A Tropical Storm Watch is currently in effect for Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Barthelemy, Saint Martin island (St. Maarten and St. Martin) and Saba and St. Eustatius. Jerry is expected to produce 25-50 mm (1-2 in) of rain, with isolated maximum amounts of 75 mm, in the northern Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Meanwhile, storm-generated swells are expected to affect the northern Leeward Island later on 19 September and could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): AAs of 0700 local time (1200 UTC) on 19 September 2019, Hurricane Lorena was located approximately 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco, and was moving north-northwest at about 13 kph (8 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Lorena was generating maximum sustained winds of 120 kph with higher gusts. Lorena strengthened to a hurricane on the evening of 18 September and is forecast to move near or over the southwestern coast of Mexico within the areas from Manzanillo, Colima, to Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco, later in the morning The hurricane is then expected to move back over water and away from the country’s west-central coast before approaching the southern part of Baja California Sur state on 20-21 September. Lorena is projected to produce 130-255 mm (5-10 in) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 380 mm, along the coastal areas of the states of Colima, Michoacán and Jalisco. The heavy rain could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Storm-generated swells may affect portions of the southwestern coast and can cause dangerous surf and riptide conditions. Tropical storm conditions are likely to continue and spread in the areas between Cabo Corrientes and Punta Mita, Nayarit, on 19 September. Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are possible in areas of the Baja California Peninsula beginning in the late hours of 20 September or early on 21 September.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued from Manzanillo to Cabo Corrientes, while a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued from Cabo Corrientes to Punta Mita. A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the southern Baja California Peninsula from the city of La Paz to the city of Santa Fe.

ASIA

Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 19 September 2019, Taliban militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) near the National Directorate of Security (NDS) building and a major health facility in Qalat, the regional capital of southern Zabul province. The bomb destroyed both buildings and caused significant damage to a number of nearby structures. At least 20 people were killed and 90 others were injured, many of the injured were staff members and patients at the hospital. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and later stated that their primary target was the NDS facility.

China (Security threat level – 3): A number of actions organized by pro- and anti-government groups are planned in Hong Kong from 20-22 September 2019. From 1800 to 1930 local time (1000 to 1130 UTC) on 20 September a demonstration is scheduled to occur at Chater Garden in Central district to reiterate the five demands of the protest movement, which are as follows: the complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill (which Chief Executive Carrie Lam has already agreed to), an independent investigation into allegations of police brutality, pardons for arrested protesters, a retraction of the government’s characterization of the protests as “riots,” and democratic reforms. A request for a Letter of No Objection is currently pending.

On 21 September a citywide campaign organized by a pro-Beijing lawmaker is expected to be held to remove various “Lennon Walls” — areas where anti-government protesters leave notes — and could potentially result in clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators. Isolated instances of violence have previously occurred at “Lennon Walls” when government supporters attempted to destroy them. However, to date there has not been a widespread campaign to remove the “Lennon Walls.” An additional airport “stress test” is also scheduled to begin at 1300 local time in an attempt to disrupt transportation services to Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG). Previous tests have had mixed results, and the most recent one on 14 September did not cause notable disruptions. Additionally, beginning at 1400 local time, a protest march will be held in Tuen Mun, located in New Territories; protesters plan to march from San Wo lane to the Tuen Mun Government Offices. Authorities have denied permission to hold the march, but the event organizers have appealed. Between 1900 and 2300 local time a sit-in is scheduled at the Yuen Long Mass Transit Railway (MTR) station to mark the two-month anniversary of attacks against protesters by organized crime groups at the same location.

Meanwhile, beginning at 1200 local time on 22 September protesters are expected to gather at the New Town Plaza and CityLink Plaza in Sha Tin. Protesters are also planning to conduct another campaign to disrupt transportation services beginning at 1300 local time. However, details regarding the latter action remain unknown, as organizers have indicated that the campaign will operate based on conditions on the day of the event.
Japan (Security threat level – 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 19 September 2019, Tropical Depression 18W was located approximately 475 km (295 mi) south of Kadena Air Base in Japan, and was moving west at 2 kph (1 mph). At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 65 kph with gusts of up to 83 kph. Current forecasts predict that 18W will continue on its current westward track before shifting northeast by 21 September. Northern areas of Taiwan — as well as Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa — could receive approximately 76 mm (3 in) of rainfall; subsequent flash floods are possible in those areas.

EUROPE

Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 18 September 2019, police officers launched a special operation and detained a gunman on the Metro Bridge in the capital Kyiv after he threatened to blow up the bridge and several government offices. The assailant also fired shots into the air. Authorities deployed police officers, special forces, explosives experts and armored carriers to the site, where a standoff lasted for approximately two hours. Services at Dnipro, Hydropark and Livoberezhna metro stations were suspended during the episode. Officials have not yet indicated a potential motive of the perpetrator or whether he had actually been in possession of an explosive device at the time of his detainment; a psychiatric professional is scheduled to evaluate the mental state of the detainee.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 18 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Kabul, Afghanistan

“Event: The Embassy has learned that terrorist groups and individuals are seeking to increase attacks on Americans and others living or working in Kabul’s International Zone. We encourage you to consider carefully all potential travel and limit trips only to those necessary.

“We expect terrorists will continue to target political rallies, speeches, and events associated with upcoming Afghan elections. On election day terrorists may also target polling stations. Political violence may continue after the actual elections have ended.”
Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 19 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Intersection of Gerald Bataille (toward Carrefour Ritha)

"Events: Reports of burning tires at the intersection of Gerald Bataille, toward Carrefour Ritha."

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 17 September 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Saudi Arabia, which reads in part as follows: "Regional actors hostile to Saudi Arabia have conducted destructive and sometimes lethal attacks against a variety of targets including critical infrastructure, military facilities, airports, and energy facilities throughout the country, as well as vessels in Red Sea shipping lanes. Riyadh, Yanbu, areas in proximity to Jeddah, the civilian airport in Abha, military installations in the south, and specific oil and gas facilities are examples of recent targets. The Islamic Republic of Iran has supplied Yemen-based Houthis and other regional proxy groups with weapons, including drones, missiles, and rockets. Houthi militants continue to plan and conduct attacks against locations in Saudi Arabia. Violence associated with Iran-supported groups represents a significant threat. U.S. citizens living and working near military bases and critical civilian infrastructure, particularly in the Eastern Province and areas near the border with Yemen, are at heightened risk of missile and drone attack."

To read the full text of the advisory, please click here.