Worldview Security Update – September 24, 2019
24-Sep-19

AMERICAS

Bermuda / Lesser Antilles / Puerto Rico (Security threat levels – 1 / 1 / 2): As of 1200 UTC on 24 September 2019, Tropical Storm Jerry was located approximately 440 km (275 mi) west-southwest of Bermuda and was moving north at about 13 kph (8 mph). At that time, Jerry was generating maximum sustained winds of 95 kph with higher gusts. As of the latest forecasts, the storm is expected to turn northeast by the nighttime hours of 24 September before tracking to the east-northeast on 25 September. The center of the storm is forecast to pass near Bermuda on 25 September.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Bermuda, where 25-75 mm (1-3 in) of rain is in the forecast until 25 September. Storm-generated swells are increasing along the coast of Bermuda and will likely affect the island for the next several days. Additionally, swells are expected to continue affecting portions of the northern Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico through 25 September. These swells could cause hazardous surf and riptide conditions.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 0830 local time (1230 UTC) on 24 September 2019, reports emerged that authorities have suspended operations at Toussaint Louverture International Airport (MTPP/PAP) in Port-au-Prince due to a small fire at the facility. Although the full extent of damage to the airport is unknown at this time, local reports indicate that the blaze affected a number of restaurants and shops located on the second floor of the airport, near the departure area for Air France. While firefighters have extinguished the blaze, cleanup and inspection efforts remain underway, and flights operations remain suspended. A short circuit reportedly caused the fire.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): Violent protests occurred in the capital Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti on 23 September 2019. In the morning hours, thousands of protesters gathered in the yard of the Haitian Senate in Port-au-Prince and disrupted the confirmation hearing of acting Prime Minister Fritz William Michel. A senator fired shots into the crowd and wounded two people, including a photojournalist; the senator claimed that his actions were in self-defense. Later in the day, anti-government demonstrators staged protests and erected barricades in the city’s Delmas and Petion-Ville areas; protesters in Petion-Ville also set fire to a number of vehicles. Elsewhere in the country, protesters in Gonaives, the capital of the northeastern Artibonite department, attempted to set fire to the political headquarters of a Haitian senator. Police officers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. The opposition had plans to stage additional protests on 24 September; however, reports of notable protest actions in Port-au-Prince or elsewhere in the country have yet to emerge.

In view of the violence that occurred on 23 September, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince limited the movement of U.S. government personnel in Haiti, details of which are available in the Government Warnings section below. There are no indications that the embassy has lifted the movement restrictions as of 24 September.

Puerto Rico / U.S. Virgin Islands / British Virgin Islands (Security threat levels – 2 / 1 / 1): As of 1200 UTC on 24 September 2019, Tropical Storm Karen was located approximately 120 km (75 mi) west-southwest of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and about 140 km south of San Juan, Puerto Rico. At that time, Karen was generating maximum sustained winds of 65 kph (40 mph) with higher gusts and was moving north at about 11 kph. Karen is expected to bring heavy rains and gusts of high winds across Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands during the evening of 24 September. The storm is then forecast to track north and could affect the southeastern coast of the United States. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard has been activated in preparation for the storm; schools and government offices have been closed for the day.

Karen is expected to produce 25-75 mm (1-3 in) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 125 mm, in the Leeward Islands, while Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands are expected to receive 50-100 mm of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 205 mm. The heavy rain may cause dangerous flash flooding and mudslides, particularly in the mountainous areas of the islands.

At present, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Puerto Rico — including Vieques and Culbera — and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

ASIA

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 24 September 2019, police officers clashed with student protesters in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province. The protesters threw stones and other projectiles at police cars and the legislative council building, causing damage to at least two vehicles and the building’s fence. Police officers responded with tear gas to disperse the crowd. Students had gathered outside the regional legislative council building during the inauguration of a new council member to protest against alleged racial discrimination.

Elsewhere in Indonesia, police officers in Jakarta used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters who had gathered outside parliament to protest against proposed changes to the country’s criminal code that would outlaw homosexual and extramarital sexual activity. An additional 5,000 police officers have been deployed to Jakarta to ensure security. In Bandung, West Java, police officers fired tear gas to disperse thousands of demonstrators who gathered to protest the proposed changes. There were no reports of arrests or injuries at any of the aforementioned protests.

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), at 1601 local time (1101 UTC) on 24 September 2019, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 10 km (6 mi) in an area located approximately 1 km southeast of New Mirpur City in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The most intense tremors were felt near the epicenter, while mild shaking was felt in Islamabad to the northwest and Lahore to the south. The earthquake damaged roadways and a number of structures in New Mirpur City. At least eight people were killed and more than 100 others suffered quake-related injuries. There were no reports of damage or casualties in Islamabad or Lahore.

Analyst comment: Due to the shallow depth and relatively poor infrastructure in the area, additional casualties are likely. Earthquakes are relatively common in Pakistan, and even lower magnitude tremors have the potential to cause serious damage due to the aforementioned reasons.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Oman (Security threat level – 2): As of 0900 UTC on 24 September 2019, Tropical Cyclone Hikka was located approximately 85 km (53 mi) east-southeast of Masirah Island and was moving west at 24 kph (15 mph). At that time, Hikka was generating maximum sustained winds of approximately 150 kph with higher gusts. The storm is forecast to affect several areas along Oman’s coastline beginning on the afternoon of 24 September and will likely make landfall between Masirah Island and Ras Al Madraka by 25 September. Heavy winds and rain are forecast to affect the Al-Sharqiyah and Al-Wusta governorates. While Hikka is not expected to directly hit the United Arab Emirates (UAE); storm-generated surges are possible along the country’s eastern coastline.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Tanzania (Security threat level – 3): On the morning of 23 September 2019, a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Seronera Airstrip (HTSN/SEU), located in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, approximately 300 km (185 mi) northwest of Arusha. The two people aboard the aircraft, including the pilot and one passenger, were killed during the crash; both of the victims were reportedly Tanzanian nationals. The privately owned Auric Air operated the Arusha-bound aircraft. The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) is investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 23 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert restricting the movement of its personnel in Port-au-Prince, which reads in part as follows: “Due to a developing security situation, all movements of US Embassy personnel are restricted to home to work, between residential US Embassy compounds and Chancery, as well as mission critical travel to airport.”

Tanzania (Security threat level – 3): On 23 September 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Tanzania, which reads in part as follows: “The WHO continues to investigate the death of a person due to an undiagnosed illness in Tanzania in September 2019 and has issued a statement . The British High Commission in Dar es Salaam is in contact with Tanzanian authorities and international health organizations, and this travel advice will be updated as new information becomes available. You should keep up to date with developments on the National Travel Health Network and Center and WHO websites.”