Worldview Security Update – September 20, 2019
20-Sep-19

AMERICAS

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On the evening of 19 September 2019, Tropical Storm Jerry strengthened to become a Category 2 hurricane. As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 20 September, Hurricane Jerry was located approximately 245 km (155 mi) east-northeast of Barbuda and was moving west-northwest at about 26 kph (16 mph). The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 155 kph and higher gusts. Jerry is expected to pass north of the Northern Leeward islands later on 20 September; the hurricane is expected to move well north of Puerto Rico on 21 September before passing east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas on 22 September.

A Tropical Storm Watch is currently in effect for St. Barthelemy, Saint Martin island (St. Maarten and St. Martin) and Saba and St. Eustatius. Jerry is expected to produce 25-75 mm (1-3 in) of rain, with isolated maximum amounts of 100-150 mm, from areas northwest of Barbuda to St. Maarten, Anguilla and Anegada. In addition, the storm is expected to produce 25-50 mm of rain, with maximum amounts of up to 75 mm, in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico. Hazardous flash floods are possible in the aforementioned areas due to the heavy rainfall. Meanwhile, storm-generated swells are currently affecting portions of the northern Leeward Islands and could cause life-threatening surf and riptide conditions.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 19 September 2019, Hurricane Lorena made landfall in an area of Jalisco state, located approximately 13 km (8 mi) from the town of Huerta and weakened to become a tropical storm. The storm then regained hurricane strength in the early hours of 20 September as it approached the southern part of Baja California Peninsula. As of 0600 local time (1200 UTC) on 20 September, Lorena was located approximately 95 km (60 mi) east of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, and was moving west-northwest at about 15 kph (9 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Lorena was generating maximum sustained winds of 120 kph with higher gusts. The center of the hurricane is expected to pass near or over the southern part of the Baja California peninsula later on 20 September before gradually moving away from the western coast on the morning of 21 September. Lorena is projected to produce 75-150 mm (3-6 in) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 200 mm, along the far southern areas of Baja California Sur. The heavy rain could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Storm-generated swells will affect portions of the southwestern coast of Mexico and the southern Baja California peninsula; these swells will likely cause hazardous surf and riptide conditions along beaches in the popular resort town of Los Cabos. Hurricane conditions are expected within the southern Baja California peninsula later in the evening of 20 September.

Authorities in Baja California Sur are preparing for anticipated disruptions associated with the passage of the hurricane. State officials have suspended classes for 20 September and have designated 177 properties as potential shelters in five municipalities ahead of the arrival of Lorena. The governor of Colima, one of the states affected when Lorena made landfall in Jalisco, stated that there were reports of power outages, damaged roads and minor landslides in 10 municipalities.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued for areas in the Baja California peninsula from La Paz to Puerto Cortes, while a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for areas between the towns of San Evaristo and Loreto, as well as from Puerto Cortes to Puerto San Andresito. A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for the eastern coast of Baja California peninsula, from areas between La Paz and the city of San Evaristo.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of the morning of 20 September 2019, normal routine activities, including transportation services, have largely resumed in the Houston area following significant flooding due to heavy rainfall stemming from the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda the previous day. Officials at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH/IAH) announced that the airport was open and operational as of 0400 local time (0900 UTC) on 20 September; the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had issued an order suspending all inbound flights to the airport in the afternoon hours of 19 September after access routes to and from the facility were inundated. Areas near the facility, which is located in the northern part of the city, and suburbs located farther north — the Kingwood neighborhood in particular — were among the most affected areas. Additionally, the eastern city of Beaumont also sustained significant damage due to extensive flooding.

Meanwhile, William P. Hobby Airport (KHOU/HOU) — located on the southeastern side of Houston — is also operating normally. On 19 September outbound flights from this airport continued with some delays; however, the FAA had ordered all incoming flights to be halted at their airports of origin for a number of hours. At present, ground travel in most areas of Houston is continuing without notable disruptions, although a section of Interstate 10 in the eastern part of the city remains shut down, in addition to stretches of a number of streets in the metropolitan area.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in 13 counties situated in the southeastern part of the state, including Harris County — where Houston is located — on 19 September. There have been reports of flooded homes, downed trees and power outages in several areas of the region. Authorities are working to assess the damage and are conducting recovery efforts throughout the southeastern part of the state. There were at least two storm-related fatalities.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): According to reports on 20 September 2019, a police ban on a protest march — scheduled to occur on 21 September — in Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun area was overturned upon appeal. As part of the arrangement, organizers agreed to conclude the event at 1700 local time (0900 UTC); it was originally set to conclude at 1900 local time. The march is expected to start as planned at 1400 local time at the San Wo lane playground and end at the Tuen Mun Government Offices. The protest is largely unrelated to the ongoing anti-government protest movement and is being organized to pressure authorities to halt unauthorized street performances at Tuen Mun park, which residents claim contribute to noise pollution.

Separately, a citywide campaign to remove various “Lennon Walls” — areas where anti-government protesters leave notes — organized by a pro-Beijing lawmaker is expected to occur as previously planned, despite the lawmaker revoking his application for a Letter of No Objection. Local media sources have stated that the event was canceled after the lawmaker revoked his application, but he later clarified that the application was revoked because it was not necessary to obtain the letter in order to hold the event. 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. Anti-government protesters have vowed to defend themselves if confronted by government supporters at Lennon Walls. As a precaution, travelers should avoid all large gatherings and all Lennon Walls if possible.

Japan / South Korea (Security threat levels – 1 / 2): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 20 September 2019, Tropical Storm Tapah — previously known as Tropical Depression 18W — was located approximately 390 km (240 mi) south-southwest of Japan’s Kadena Air Base and was moving northwest at 6 kph (3 mph). At that time, Tapah was generating maximum sustained winds of 93 kph with gusts of up to 120 kph. Current forecasts indicate that Tapah will continue on its northwestern path and will likely bring strong winds and heavy rainfall to the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa. However, it is expected to turn northeast by 22 September and cross through the Korea Strait into the Sea of Japan by 23 September. During that time, southern coastal areas of South Korea, including Busan — as well as Jeju Island — are likely to be most affected. In Japan, Kyushu Island, the western portions of Shikoku Island and parts of Honshu Island, including Yamaguchi, Shimane and Hiroshima prefectures, are the areas expected to experience the most significant effects. Affected areas could receive approximately 75 mm (3 in) of rainfall and subsequent flash floods are probable.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): A number of demonstrations are set to take place in Paris during the Heritage Days weekend on 21 September 2019. “Yellow vest” protesters have called for a resurgence of protesters for the 45th consecutive weekend of demonstrations. Turnout at the protest is expected to be in the thousands and higher than for previous such demonstrations. Union leaders and environmental activists have called for demonstrations alongside yellow vest protesters against pension reforms and are also demanding government action on climate change. Security officials have warned that violence is likely, as members of “black bloc” — an anti-capitalist group — have issued calls to meet in Paris on the same day.

The largest demonstration is scheduled to occur on Paris’ Champs-Élysées beginning at 1000 local time (0800 UTC), although French authorities have announced continued bans on demonstrations on Champs-Elysées, Bois de Boulogne, Bois de Vincennes, the Hôtel Matignon, the National Assembly, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Senate and the Trocadéro. A significant security presence is expected in the city throughout the weekend of 21-22 September, as approximately 8,000 police officers have been deployed in view of the weekend demonstrations. Associated transportation disruptions are likely to occur throughout the city.

WORLD

World: On 20 September 2019, millions of people are observing a global climate strike, with more than 4,600 events scheduled in 139 countries. In the United States, more than 1,000 gatherings were reportedly taking place across the country, including in the cities of Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., the national capital. Thousands of people participated in demonstrations across Europe as well, with large crowds attending in France, Germany, Poland, the U.K. and Ukraine. Protesters also gathered across Asia, including in Australia, India and the Pacific Islands. In Australia, demonstrations reportedly took place in approximately 110 locations across the country, with crowds of several thousand in attendance at some locations.

Although no violence has been reported at any of the climate strikes, large crowds have disrupted traffic in several major cities. Severe traffic disruptions have been reported in Sydney, Australia; Strasbourg, France; Berlin, Germany; and Mumbai, India, among others.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Algeria (Security threat level – 4): On 19 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Algeria issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Throughout Algeria

"Event: Demonstrations are expected to continue to take place throughout the country in the coming weeks. At previous demonstrations, there were reports of confrontations between police and demonstrators involving tear gas and water cannons as well as reports of property damage, injuries, and detentions. Increased movement restrictions into the capital are expected before demonstrations, including the possible impounding of vehicles. U.S. government personnel are encouraged to limit non-essential movements during and immediately after large demonstrations and instructed not to participate, watch, or remain near demonstrations. The Embassy will issue future alerts if the security situation changes significantly or there is specific information or an incident which requires additional messaging."
Georgia (Security threat level – 3): On 20 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Outside the Parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue in downtown Tbilisi

“Event: A demonstration is expected to take place at approximately 7:00pm today (Friday, September 20) to mark the three month anniversary since the protest activities on June 20. Some streets may be closed. U.S. government personnel have been advised to avoid the area as there is always the potential for large gatherings to become violent.”

Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On 19 September 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Paraguay, which reads in part as follows:

“Forest fires are currently affecting the regions of the Chaco area and Northeast regions. If you plan to visit those areas, monitor local media and follow the guidance of local authorities.

"Transnational criminal organisations involved in drug trafficking and arms smuggling operate along Paraguay’s eastern border with Brazil, especially from Pedro Juan Caballero south to Ciudad del Este, including the Tri-Border Area of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. Their presence has increased violent crime in these areas. They have also carried out isolated violent criminal attacks in Asunción targeting the Paraguayan security forces and people associated with rival organisations. While tourists have not been the target of such incidents, anyone in the vicinity of an incident could be affected and you should exercise due caution.”

Slovenia (Security threat level – 2): On 20 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Ljubljana – Trg republike (Republic Square)

“Event: Two demonstrations are planned for today (Friday, September 20) in Ljubljana’s Republic Square. The first, currently taking place and likely to end around 1800, is regarding climate change. A second, larger demonstration will take place in the square this evening regarding affordable student housing. Up to several hundred students may spend the night in tents. The overwhelming majority of demonstrations in Slovenia are peaceful.”