Worldview Security Update – September 25, 2019
25-Sep-19

AMERICAS

Puerto Rico / British Virgin Islands / U.S. Virgin Islands (Security threat levels – 2 / 1 / 1): As of 0900 UTC on 25 September 2019, Tropical Storm Karen was located approximately 250 km (155 mi) north-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico and was moving north at about 22 kph (14 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that point, Karen was generating maximum sustained winds of 75 kph with higher gusts. Karen is currently moving in a northerly direction and is expected to continue on this track before turning to the northeast during the afternoon hours of 26 September. The latest forecasts suggest that the center of the storm will continue to move farther away from Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands through 26 September.

Heavy rains and subsequent flash floods are expected to continue to affect Puerto Rico and the British and U.S Virgin Islands through 25 September. Karen is forecast to produce 25-50 mm (1-2 in) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 100 mm, in the Leeward Islands. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands are expected to receive 75-150 mm of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 255 mm. Although authorities have discontinued all coastal watches and warnings, the heavy rain may cause dangerous flash flooding and mudslides, particularly in the islands’ mountainous areas.

ASIA

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 25 September 2019, protests continued for a third consecutive day across Indonesia against proposed changes to the criminal code that would criminalize extramarital sexual activity as well as legislation that critics claim would weaken the country’s anti-corruption agency, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). In the capital Jakarta, police officers fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who were attempting to reach Parliament; in response, protesters threw rocks, debris and other projectiles at the officers. Meanwhile, in Padang, West Sumatra, protesters entered the local parliament building and damaged furniture and windows. There were no reports of injuries or arrests during the 25 September demonstrations. However, authorities stated that more than 300 protesters and police officers suffered injuries during clashes in Jakarta on the previous day and that police officers arrested 94 demonstrators for engaging in violent acts.

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): As of 25 September 2019, emergency personnel are conducting rescue and relief operations in Pakistan-administered Kashmir following a 5.6 magnitude earthquake in the region the previous day. The earthquake, with an estimated depth of 10 km (6 mi), struck approximately 3 km southeast of New Mirpur City and caused significant damage to infrastructure; a number of homes, major roadways, utility poles and a key bridge in the Mirpur City area were damaged due to the quake. Authorities have since restored power in Mirpur and Kotli districts; however, heavy rains overnight on 24-25 September impeded the recovery efforts. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has deployed medical teams with basic supplies, including food, medicine and tents to set up temporary shelters in the affected areas. Thus far, at least 37 fatalities have been confirmed and more than 500 people are being treated for quake-related injuries.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Oman (Security threat level – 2): On the evening of 24 September 2019, Tropical Cyclone Hikka weakened to become a tropical storm before making landfall in southeastern Oman. Immediately prior to being downgraded, Hikka was generating maximum sustained winds of approximately 110 kph (68 mph) with higher gusts. The storm is forecast to dissipate over the next several days. Hikka brought torrential rainfall and heavy winds to al-Wusta and al-Shariqiyah governorates, and caused flash flooding in low-lying wadis (valleys). In preparation for the storm, Omani civil defense forces evacuated 750 people in al-Wusta, and suspended ferry service to al-Masirah Island. Moreover, authorities conducted at least one high-water rescue in a flooded wadi in al-Wusta, rescuing six people. According to Omani officials, the storm did not cause significant damage and casualties have been minimal.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): Members of the South African Society of Bank Officials (SASBO) plan to launch a nationwide strike beginning on 27 September 2019. In conjunction with the strike, SASBO has organized five marches, which are expected to take place in the cities of Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, each beginning at 1000 local time (0800 UTC) on the same day. Estimates indicate that as many as 70,000 bank employees could participate in the labor action that is being organized to protest against increasing digitalization in the finance and banking industries. The strike has the potential to disrupt services at automated teller machines (ATMs), as well as online and in-person banking services, across the country.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Denmark (Security threat level – 2): On 24 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

“Event: The Danish National Police urge individuals living in or visiting the areas of Nørrebro, Ishøj, and Hundige to exercise heightened awareness at all times due to a recent increase in gun violence. Copenhagen Police have instituted a stop-and-search zone in a large area covering Nørrebro. The ordinance – which will run through September 30 – allows police officers to stop and search anyone within the area without cause.”

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 24 September 2019, Global Affairs Canada (GAC) updated its travel advisory for Haiti, which reads in part as follows:

"Avoid non-essential travel to Haiti due to the potential for civil unrest throughout the country. The security situation could deteriorate quickly.

"Haiti has recently experienced fuel shortages. Although the situation has somewhat improved, it remains volatile. Instances of violence, protests and burning barricades in the main streets of Port-au-Prince and across the country can occur without notice.

"Avoid all unnecessary travel to Haiti. If you are in the country:

  • limit all non-essential movements
  • avoid crossing road blockades, even if they appear unattended
  • plan to have adequate water, food and fuel supplies."

Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 25 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta issued a Security Alert regarding the ongoing protests, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Nationwide

“On September 24, thousands of demonstrators gathered in Jakarta to protest recent legislation and some Indonesian government policies. The demonstrations were largely peaceful but caused some damage to property and significant disruptions to rush-hour traffic. Indonesian police used non-lethal force in confrontations with protesters.

“Demonstrations also took place yesterday in Medan and Palembang, with reports of injuries to participants there. Traffic was also disrupted in these locations.

“There are reports of related demonstrations planned in other Indonesian cities in the coming days. The U.S. Embassy continues to closely monitor the situation and strongly advises U.S. citizens to avoid protest areas, which have recently included government buildings.”

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 24 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:
"Location: Baghdad, Iraq

"Event: The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad advises all U.S. citizens of heightened tensions in the region and the need to remain vigilant. Attacks in major cities may occur without warning, particularly after dark. U.S. citizens, and places where U.S. citizens are known to gather, are likely to be targeted in such events."

Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 25 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon issued a Security Alert regarding potential attacks, which reads in part as follows: “Location: Major cities in Myanmar, specifically Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, and Mandalay

“Event: Myanmar security forces are investigating reports of potential attacks in Nay Pyi Taw on September 26, October 16, and October 26, and in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon, and Mandalay in the coming months.”