Worldview Security Update – September 6, 2019
6-Sep-19

AMERICAS

Peru (Security threat level – 3): On 5 September 2019, thousands of people marched in major cities in Peru — including Arequipa, Lima and Trujillo — to demand that the opposition-controlled Congress approve President Martín Vizcarra’s proposal to organize general elections for 2020. In the capital Lima, demonstrators gathered in Plaza San Martín and marched along Nicolás de Piérola, Garcilaso de la Vega, Paseo Colón, Grau, Manco Cápac and Abancay avenues before reaching the Public Ministry building, located in the historical city center area. There were significant traffic disruptions in the area during the march. A small group of demonstrators then clashed with police officers after they attempted to remove police barricades and continue the march to the Congress building nearby. There were no reports of major injuries or arrests.

United States / Canada (Security threat levels – 2 / 2): On the morning of 6 September 2019, Hurricane Dorian made landfall over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, as a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 73 mph (117 kph) and gusts of up to 89 mph. As of 0900 local time (1300 UTC), the center of the storm was located approximately 5 mi (8 km) northeast of Cape Hatteras and was moving in a northeasterly direction at a speed of 14 mph. Dorian is forecast to pass over far southeastern New England on 6-7 September, after which it is expected to move across the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia by the nighttime hours of 7 September.

Dorian is currently affecting North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where a curfew order remains in place for the coastal Dare County. As of last report, nearly 200,000 homes and businesses in the state were without electricity. Meanwhile, in neighboring South Carolina, more than 440,000 residents evacuated their homes and almost 150,000 homes are experiencing power outages. Despite some flash floods in downtown Charleston — including the popular Market Street — the hurricane’s effects in the city were less severe than previously anticipated. Authorities are working to restore electricity in the city and elsewhere in the state. Charleston International Airport (KCHS/CHS) plans to resume flights later in the morning hours. Thus far, there have been five storm-related fatalities: three in Florida and two in North Carolina.

At present, a Hurricane Warning is in effect from South Carolina’s Little River Inlet to the North Carolina-Virginia border-line, as well as the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds in North Carolina. Meanwhile, a Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from South Carolina’s South Santee River to Little River Inlet; from the North Carolina-Virginia border to Denwick Island, Delaware; Chesapeake Bay from Drum Point southward; Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island, Maryland; Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts; and, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for areas from North Carolina’s Surf City to Poquoson, Virginia; Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds; Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, North Carolina; and Virginia’s Hampton Roads. Meanwhile, a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Canada’s Prince Edward Island; Magdalen Islands; Fundy National Park to Shediac; and François to Boat Harbor.

The hurricane is expected to produce an additional 3-8 inches (75-200 mm) of rain in the coastal areas of North Carolina, with isolated maximums of up to 15 inches. Additionally, 3-8 inches of rain is likely in low-lying areas of southeastern Virginia and 2-4 inches of rain is likely in far southeastern New England. In the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, 3-5 inches of rain is in the forecast, while 1-2 inches of rain is expected in Newfoundland. Hazardous flash floods are possible in the aforementioned areas.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): According to local reports, protesters plan to stage a “stress test” at Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG) between 1300 and 2359 local time (0520-1559 UTC) on 7 September 2019. “Stress tests” were previously held on 1 September and 24 August. The 24 August event had no notable effects at the airport, while the 1 September test forced airport officials to cancel 25 scheduled outbound flights and caused significant disruptions to public transportation services to and from the airport. Authorities have warned that they will take action against any motorists participating in the protest, and noted that vehicles moving slowly along roads leading to the airport will be considered suspicious. They also warned that drivers could be prosecuted for careless or dangerous driving, a relatively more serious charge, which can result in up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to 25,000 Hong Kong dollars (3,190 U.S. dollars). Mass Transit Railway (MTR) officials also announced that Airport Express trains will begin operations from 0900 local time, but the trains will only service Hong Kong and Airport stations, skipping stops in between. However, the MTR officials also stated that the Tung Chung Line, which runs parallel to the Airport Express Line up to Lantau island, would operate normally. Separately, on 7 September protesters plan to gather outside Government House in Central district. Meanwhile, on 8 September a protest march is expected to begin in Edinburgh Place at 1400 local time and conclude outside the U.S. Consulate building; protesters will demand that legislation to be passed in the U.S. Congress in support of the protest movement. No reports have emerged regarding anticipated turnout at the aforementioned protests. 

Japan (Security threat level – 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 1800 local time (0900 UTC) on 6 September 2019, Tropical Storm Faxai was located approximately 885 km (550 mi) east of Iwo Jima, and was moving northwest at 39 kph (24 mph). At that time, Faxai had maximum sustained winds of 83 kph with gusts of up to 102 kph. Faxai is currently forecast to make landfall in Chiba prefecture along the eastern side of Tokyo Bay by 8 September and move up through the Boso Peninsula, after which it will likely track northeastward. The storm is expected to exit the Boso Peninsula by 9 September and continue into the Pacific Ocean. Faxai could produce 75- 150 mm (3- 6 in) of rain in the affected areas, including the capital Tokyo.

South Korea / Japan / China / Taiwan / North Korea (Security threat levels – 2 / 1 / 3 / 2 / 3): As of 0900 UTC on 6 September 2019, Typhoon Lingling was located approximately 710 km (440 mi) south of Kunsan Air Base in Gunsan, South Korea, and was moving northward at 28 kph (17 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). At that time, the typhoon had maximum sustained winds of 204 kph with gusts of up to 250 kph. Lingling is currently projected to continue on its northern track and come ashore in North Korea’s South Hwanghae province — which partially borders South Korea — by 7 September. Although the rugged terrain of the coastal area is expected to cause the storm to rapidly weaken, Lingling is forecast to bring heavy rainfall and strong winds to parts of Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, the eastern portion of Taiwan and parts of eastern China, including Shanghai. Rainfall of between 75-150 mm (3-6 in), with isolated maximums of up to 300 mm, is in the forecast for the affected areas, especially over the Korean Peninsula. The heavy rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods in the region. Authorities at South Korea’s Jeju International Airport (RKPC/CJU) canceled approximately 80 flights ahead of Lingling’s arrival. There were no reports of cancellations at other airports, but Japan Airlines announced several cancellations due to the storm.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): French airline Aigle Azur plans to suspend all scheduled flights beginning on the evening of 6 September 2019. The airline — which filed for bankruptcy on 2 September — had initially stated that it would continue operations until at least 27 September. The now-defunct airline employed a total of 1,150 people and operated to various destinations across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The firm’s assets, including several takeoff and landing slots at Paris Orly Airport (LFPO/ORY), will reportedly go into liquidation in the coming days.

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 2): As of 6 September 2019, British Airways pilots plan to conduct a strike on 9 and 10 September over a pay dispute with the airline. If the strike proceeds as currently planned, British Airways estimates that approximately 850 planned domestic and international flights will be canceled, affecting around 450,000 passengers. Other reports estimate that a total of 1,600 flights could be affected. On 5 September, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), which organized the strike, stated that it could potentially cancel the labor action if British Airways officials agree to discuss a new deal proposed by the union.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo / Tanzania / South Africa (Security threat levels – 5 / 3 / 4): On 6 September 2019, protests in response to recent xenophobic violence in South Africa continued in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for a second consecutive day. In the capital Kinshasa, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse protesters who had gathered outside the South African Embassy, located in the city’s Gombe area; police officers arrested at least 10 protesters.

On the previous day, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse a group of demonstrators armed with sticks near the Shoprite Supermarket, a South African-owned supermarket chain, in Kinshasa; security personnel arrested 16 people. Meanwhile, in Lubumbashi, demonstrators vandalized the South African Consulate building and looted at least one MRP store, a South African-owned retailer. Police officers fired tear gas to disperse the group and deployed additional security personnel to the area to prevent the demonstrators from regrouping. The unrest also prompted several businesses in the area to shut down. At least two people were injured in the violence in Lubumbashi.

In a related development, on 5 September Tanzanian carrier Air Tanzania announced that it has suspended flights between Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (FAOR/JNB), citing concerns regarding passenger safety. The airline did not specify a date by which it would resume operations. The decision follows the recent attacks on foreign-owned businesses in South Africa’s Gauteng province — which includes the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria — as well as threats and retaliatory violence targeting South African-owned businesses in several cities across Nigeria, Zambia and the DRC. At least 10 migrants have been killed during the recent attacks in South Africa, primarily in townships outside of Johannesburg, since 1 September.

Zimbabwe (Security threat level – 4): As of 6 September 2019, a doctors’ strike is affecting medical service provision in the capital Harare for a third consecutive day. Reports indicate that at least 50% of physicians working for the Harare Central Hospital and the Parirenyatwa Hospital are participating in the labor action. Meanwhile, a number of doctors — including protesting physicians and junior doctors who typically work under the supervision of senior physicians — are only handling emergency cases. The work stoppage has resulted in prolonged wait times at both hospitals. In addition, doctors in specialized disciplines, such as neurology and orthopedics, are reportedly not available at the Harare Central Hospital. The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association — which represents doctors in the country’s state-owned hospitals — called for the work stoppage to protest poor work conditions and low wages.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Security threat level – 3): On 6 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: The Pride March route will be on Marshall Tito Street, starting at noon from the Eternal Flame and concluding at the Parliament square. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Event: The inaugural Pride March in Bosnia and Herzegovina will take place Sunday, September 8 starting at noon. Other related demonstrations are scheduled, one on Saturday, September 7 (from 1300-1500), along the same route as the march and another on Sunday morning before the march. The Sarajevo Canton will close several streets in the area and we anticipate a significant security presence during the event. Please expect traffic closures and other transportation disruptions on both Saturday and Sunday.”

Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 5 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Athens issued a Demonstration Alert for Thessaloniki, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Expected gathering points include The Arch of Galerius (Kamara), Aristotle Square, Venizelos statue, the University campus, the White Tower, and the Thessaloniki International Fair grounds (International Exhibition and Congress Center).

“Event: Large demonstrations potentially reaching in the tens of thousands of participants are expected in Thessaloniki during the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) September 7-15 related to several regional and domestic issues. Traffic disruptions are expected as roads are intermittently closed to facilitate VIP travel.

“U.S. government personnel have been informed of the following:

“Significant demonstrations have occurred in previous years during the TIF. Although most demonstrations are peaceful, violent protestors may infiltrate peaceful demonstrations, resulting in clashes with riot police and causing road closures that can severely impact traffic. Radical groups in the past have used arson, gas canister attacks, and Molotov cocktails.”

Jamaica (Security threat level – 3): On 6 September 2019, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Jamaica, which reads in part as follows: "On 5 September, a State of Emergency was announced comprising the Parishes of Clarendon and St Catherine: this will last initially until 19 September."

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 6 September 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows: “Location: Islamabad, Pakistan

“Event: Large processions in and around Islamabad and Rawalpindi are expected from September 8 through September 11, due to the observance of the 9th and 10th days of Muharram. During this period, there is special concern due to sectarian violence in the past. There will be a heavy police presence throughout the city, especially in the vicinity of the larger scheduled processions in Sectors G-6, G-9, Rawalpindi, and Bari Iman. Many roads will be blocked or heavily congested, and there will be an increased number of checkpoints. U.S. government personnel are required to travel in armored vehicles outside the Diplomatic Enclave on September 9 and 10.

“Embassy Operations: The Embassy will be closed on September 9 and 10 in observance of Muharram.”

Turkey (Security threat level – 4): On 5 September 2019, the U.S. Department of State updated its Travel Advisory for Turkey and lowered the level of advice from “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” to “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.” The updated advisory reads in part as follows:

"Exercise increased caution when traveling to Turkey due to terrorism and arbitrary detentions. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

"Do not travel to:

  • Areas near the Syrian and Iraqi borders due to terrorism. (Level 4)

"Reconsider travel to:

  • Batman, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hakkari, Hatay, Kilis, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli, and Van (Level 3)

"Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Turkey. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas. Terrorists have also previously targeted Western tourists and expatriates.

"Security forces have detained tens of thousands of individuals, including U.S. citizens, for alleged affiliations with terrorist organizations based on scant or secret evidence and grounds that appear to be politically motivated. U.S. citizens have also been subject to travel bans that prevent them from departing Turkey. Participation in demonstrations not explicitly approved by the Government of Turkey, as well as criticism of the government, including on social media, can result in arrest."