Monthly Travel Risk Summary Report

August 2020 – Travel Risk Report

Welcome to August,

Ares Risk Management is here to help and support the travelling business community. We are here to provide you with the intelligence and threat trends which will keep you and your personnel safe while travelling – especially if your business takes you to some of the worlds at risk, crisis or conflict zones.

We’d like to remind you that when travelling abroad, even to countries which are considered “safe”, we live in a dangerous world. While conflict or terror attacks might not be prevalent in the country or city you are visiting, all countries and cities suffer from varying types and levels of crime. Be aware of the types of crime you might encounter.

We would also like to remind you that the weather may disrupt your travel plans. We also advise that you consider health issues and ensure that you are immunised (if need be) before travelling.

It is also worth noting that some over the counter and prescription medications which a legal and freely accessible in the UK and Europe might be considered contraband in other countries so please be sure that you check what medications are allowed and which are considered contraband.

If you are travelling at any time this year and would like a more detailed country and regional risk assessment, focused on your travel plans and itinerary before deciding whether you need the services of an International Executive Close Protection Team or not, please do not hesitate to contact us at Ares Risk Management.

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~ SETTING THE SCENE FOR AUGUST  ~

Coronavirus (aka Covid-19) continued to keep the world at varying levels of on lockdown, and with some countries, particularly China, experiencing second waves of infection, unless we continue to be vigilant, and conform to the social distancing and mask-wearing rule, we could put the UK at risk of a second wave of infection too.

The travel industry which reopened on the 15th June continues to slowly increase the number of flights and destinations where UK visitors are welcomed; however travellers need to note that depending on where you have travelled to, you could find that self-quarantining for periods of between 10 and 14 days on your return – Your Travel Management company will be able to provide you with more detailed advice on this matter.

The UK government continues to advise travellers that if they must travel – that travel should be for essential journey’s only.

The latest news on the Coronavirus can be found here:

  1. UK Government – Coronavirus Advice: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
  2. NHS Coronavirus Advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Weather Hazards & Natural Disasters

EARTHQUAKES

PHILIPPIANS 1st August 2020
Magnitude 6.4

5th August 2020
Magnitude 4.1 – 4.8

In the past 5 days, the Philippians have been hit by a series of earthquakes.

In the early morning of 5th August, the country was hit by three consecutive quakes in the mountain province of Antique, and Surigao Del Sur.

To date, there have been no reports of injury, death, or damage to infrastructure however there have been warnings of aftershocks.

GUATEMALA 4th August 2020
Magnitude 5.8

A series off-shore quake struck the west coast of Guatemala, at a depth of 60 Km. To date, there have been no tsunami warnings issued and there are no reports of casualties or damage in coastal regions in proximity to the quake's epicenter.

SOLOMON ISLANDS 4th August 2020
Magnitude 5.6

An oceanic earthquake was reported to have struck off the southern coast of the Solomon Islands – midway between the south of the Solomon Islands and north of Vantanu, at a depth of 70Km. There have been no reports of casualties or damage and no tsunami alert has been issued for the area.

TURKEY 4th August 2020
Magnitude 5.6

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake shook southeast Turkey’s Malatya province. The quake struck at a depth of about 5 Km. To date there have been no reports of casualties, however, the villages of Baskal Town, Van Province near the border with Iran was flattened, with villagers seen standing on the debris of their homes which had been destroyed.

BALLENY ISLANDS 3rd August 2020
Magnitude 5.6

An oceanic earthquake was reported to have struck off the northern area of the Balleny Island, south of the Southend Island of New Zealand at a depth of 10Km. There have been no reports of casualties or damage as the nearest human populations to the epicenter is some 100km away, and no tsunami alert has been issued for the area.

NORTHERN CHILE 3rd August 2020
Magnitude 4.1 - 5.6

In the past 7-days, Chile has experienced 11 earthquakes of varying magnitudes. The quakes have centered around the northern region to the west of the Andies and border region with Bolivia. To date, the quakes have been classified as mild for the area and there are no reports of casualties or damage.

NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS 3rd August 2020
Magnitude 5.6

An oceanic earthquake was reported to have struck off the northern area of Mariana Islands, at a depth of 10Km. Thankfully this quake didn’t trigger a tsunami alert and current reports indicate that there have been no casualties or damage as the nearest populations are 100Km from the epicenter of the quake.

VANTANU 2nd August 2020
Magnitude 5.7

An oceanic earthquake was reported to have struck off the southern area of Vantanu, at a depth of 10Km. Thankfully this quake didn’t trigger a tsunami alert and current reports indicate that there have been no casualties or damage as the nearest populations are 100Km from the epicenter of the quake.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 2nd August 2020
Magnitude 5.7 – 6.0

On the 2nd August, Papua New Guinea was hit by three earthquakes in the space of 40 minutes commencing at 7 pm local time. About 7000 people are in the affected area. While there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities these quakes have been followed up by a tsunami alert along 300km of the Papua New Guinea coastal regions in proximity to the quake epicenters.

TONGA 1st August 2020
Magnitude: 5.6

An oceanic earthquake was reported to have struck off the southern area of Tonga, at a depth of 10Km. Thankfully this quake didn’t trigger a tsunami alert and current reports indicate that there have been no casualties or damage as the nearest populations are 100Km from the epicenter of the quake.

TROPICAL CYCLONES/HURRICANES/ TYPHOONS

The Hurricane Season across the Caribbean/ Bahamas/Florida and Carolina’s/Mexico and Northern South American countries spans from the 1st June through to the end of November annually.

The Typhoon Season in Japan and Western Pacific spans from July to October.

Cyclone Season – South Pacific runs annually from November to  April.

During July there were seven typhoons in total in the Western Pacific – as we begin August four typhoons have been recorded – the details follow below.

THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, BAHAMAS, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, PUERTO RICO, HAITI, VIRGIN ISLANDS U.S., TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS, VIRGIN ISLANDS BRITISH, CUBA, ANGUILLA, ARUBA, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES, SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS, VENEZUELA, COLOMBIA, MONTSERRAT, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, GUADELOUPE, MARTINIQUE, SAINT LUCIA, SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES, GRENADA, BARBADOS, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, DOMINICA, JAMAICA 28th July – 5th August 2020
Tropical Cyclone – Isaias-20
Category 1 – Hurricane

Tropical Hurrican Isaias-20 passed over the Bahamas between 31st July and 1st August with consistent recorded wind speeds of 139Km/h before moving on through to the Florida coast by the 3rd August, approximately 230 Km southeast of Jacksonville with a wind speed of 110km/h.

27 people were evacuated in the Bahamas and more than 5000 people were evacuated in the Dominican Republic, with 1,300 houses damaged there and a further 100 houses damaged in eastern Cuba.

Isaias continued northeast along the Georgia and South Carolina coast with continued wind speeds of 110km/h before making landfall on the 4th August as a tropical storm in North Carolina.

Heavy rain, strong winds, and storm surge were forecast for Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas on the 3rd and 4th August – as storm surge warnings are in effect for the coastal areas, and a tropical storm warning was issued for coastal areas of Florida, the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.were issued

On the 5th August Tropical Storm Isaias was moving as a pots tropical storm over southern Canada – with its center being located approximately 100km southwest of Quebec – with wind speeds reducing from 110km/h to 65Km/h.

Media reports 6-deaths in North Carolina, 2-deaths in Maryland and New York City, 1-death in Pennsylvania, and 1-death in Delaware. Isaias path is continuing northeast over southern and eastern Quebec during the 5th and 6th of August as a post-tropical cyclone, where local weather forecasts have issued warnings of heavy rain and strong winds over New England, Maine in particular as well as Quebec.

CHINA, JAPAN, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF KOREA 4th August 2020
Tropical Typhoon Hagupit
Category 1 – (Tropical Storm)

Tropical Typhoon Hagupit made landfall over Wenzhou Province in southern China on 3rd August, by the 4th August the center was approximately 255 km south of Shangai, with a maximum sustained wind speed of 85km/h.

Local media report one death and one injury in the Taipei area of Taiwan, with 381,000 people evacuated from Zhenjiang Province as a preventative measure.

Residents across the Korean Peninsula are bracing themselves for more heavy rain over the next few days. North Chungcheong Province in South Korea is reportedly the worst affected area with mudslides and flooding forcing people from their homes and damaging infrastructure. 12 people have died and a further 13 are currently missing in South Korea.

Typhoon Hagupit is the fourth typhoon to hit the region since July and is expected to bring major flooding to China, in parts of Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces – and very heavy rain with the risk of heightened flooding is forecast for this area as well as the Korean Peninsular

VIETNAM, LAOS, CHINA, THAILAND 2nd August 2020
Cyclone  Sinlaku 2020
Category 1 – (Tropical Storm)

Tropical Cyclone Sinlaku’s passed close to Hainan Province, Southern China, and northern Vietnam, and northern Laos between the 1st and 3rd of August causing heavy rains, strong winds, and storm surges of up to 1.2 meters.

Local media reports of evacuations across Northern Vietnam while in china, flights and ferries were cancelled in Hainan & Guangdong Provinces., while in Thailand’s north-east Loei Provence was affected by flash flooding as were large parts of Muang, Chiang Khan, and Pak Districts, which resulted in power cuts and road access to emergency supplies including clean water. 400 Houses were submerged in Muang district where urgent government assistance is being provided to more than 1000 households. 67 Thai provinces are on alert for further flash-flooding as more heavy rain is expected in the coming days.

Strong winds and heavy rain has caused between 2- and 6 deaths in Vietnam as well as flooding of 2,421 Hectares of rice and 21 Hectares of other crops. More heavy rain is expected in the central Thanh Hoa & Nghe An provinces of southern and northern Vietnam in the coming days.

NORTHWEST AFRICA 2nd August 2020
Cyclone Ten 2020
Category 1 (Tropical Strom)

Over the past few days, a Tropical depression has been developing off the North-Western coast of Northwest Africa – the consistent wind speeds are approx. 56km per hour and while it’s course is being closely monitored there are no warnings to local populations in Western Sahara or Cape Verde.

FLOODING, LANDSLIDES, MUDSLIDES

See hurricane and cyclone reports above where all areas mentioned will experience some degree of flooding, possible land and mudslides in the wake of Tropical Hurricanes and Cyclones in the named countries and regions.

China has for the past month been particularly vulnerable to flooding, the danger to human life, homes and crops exacerbated by the release of waters from the Three Gorges Dam which some reports describe as being vulnerable to collapse. Independent news reports have said that in late July Chinese National television showed simulations of extensive flooding and severe damage that would be caused if the Three Gorges Dam did in fact collapse in this news reports many towns and cities along the Yangtze River would become submerged  - with predictions of high loss of life and crops which would trigger a famine within China.

VOLCANOES

PAPUA NEW GUINEA 3rd August 2020

Langila volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the Bismarck Arc of New Britain. It is located 11 km south of Cape Gloucester. The volcano consists of a group of 4 small overlapping basaltic-andesitic cones on the lower eastern flank of extinct Talawe volcano, which still forms the highest volcano in the Cape Gloucester area of NW New Britain. The explosive activity commenced on 3rd August and continues to date – A continuous volcanic ash plume that rose up to an estimated 8000 ft (2400 m) altitude or flight level 080 and ash warnings have been issued.

While some 11,000 people live within 30-km of the volcano, there is no current news on whether people have been evacuated, or of injuries and damage to property or infrastructure

DROUGHTS

No droughts to report from 1st August to date.

Disease Alert

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Continues to plague the world to varying degrees and as stated earlier in this report – some areas of China have reported a second wave of infection – making it highly likely that unless populations follow the guidance of their governments' second waves of infection could break out in other areas around the world.

CORONAVIRUS (Corvid-19)

Continues to dominate all global newsmedia outlets as some countries slowly start the return to normality, while others such as Brazil become epicentres of infection and death in their regions.

 

Africa
Algeria | Benin | Botswana | Burkina Faso | Burundi | Cabo Verde | Cameroon | Central African Republic | Chad | Congo | Equatorial Guinea | Eswatini |Democratic Republic of Congo | Ethiopia | Gabon | Gambia | Ghana | Guinea | Guinea-Bissau | Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) | Kenya | Liberia | Malawi | Mali | Mauritania | Mozambique | Namibia | Niger | Nigeria | Rwanda | Senegal | Seychelles | Sierra Leone | Somalia | South Africa | Sudan | Tanzania | Togo | Zambia | Zimbabwe

Americas
Anguilla | Antigua and Barbuda | Argentina | Barbados | Belize | Bolivia | Brazil | British Virgin Islands | Canada | Chile | Colombia | Costa Rica | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | El Salvador | French Guiana | Guadalupe | Guatemala | Guyana | Haiti | Honduras | Jamaica | Martinique | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Suriname | Trinidad and Tobago | Uruguay | United States

Eastern Mediterranean
Afghanistan | Bahrain | Djibouti | Egypt | Iran | Iraq | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Morocco | Oman | Pakistan | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Syria | Tunisia | United Arab Emirates | Yemen

Europe
Albania | Andorra | Armenia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Belarus | Belgium | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Bulgaria | Croatia | Cyprus | Czechia | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Georgia | Germany | Gibraltar | Greece | Holy City (Vatican City) | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Israel | Italy | Kazakhstan | Kyrgyzstan | Latvia | Liechtenstein | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malta | Moldova | Monaco | Montenegro | Netherlands | North Macedonia | Norway | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Russia | San Marino | Serbia | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey | Ukraine | United Kingdom

South-East Asia
Bangladesh | Bhutan | India | Indonesia | Maldives | Nepal  Sri Lanka | Thailand

Western Pacific
Australia | Brunei Darussalam | Cambodia | China | Fiji | Hong Kong | Japan | Laos | Macau | Malaysia | Mongolia | New Zealand | Philippines | Republic of Korea | Singapore Taiwan | Vietnam

CHOLERA OUTBREAK: Nigeria | Cameroon | Ethiopia | Kenya | Tanzania| Zambia | Mozambique | India | Yemen | Burundi
DENGUE FEVER OUTBREAK: Honduras | Maldives | Thailand | Cambodia | Laos | Malasia | Nepal | Vietnam | Sri Lanka | Bangladesh | Philippines
EBOLA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER OUTBREAK: Rwanda | South Sudan | Burundi | Uganda | South Africa
LASSA FEVER OUTBREAK: Nigeria | Liberia | Sierra Leone | Guinea | Honduras
MALARIA EPIDEMIC: Burundi | Togo
MEASLES OUTBREAK:  Democratic Republic of Congo | South Sudan | Madagascar | Nigeria| South America | Ukraine | Philippines | UK
POLIO OUTBREAK: Afghanistan | Cameroon | Democratic Republic of Congo | Ethiopia | Islamic Republic of Iran | Mozambique | Niger | Nigeria | Pakistan | Papua New Guinea |Somalia | Philippines

 

 

Civil Unrest

USA With elections in the USA in November this year and the politicisation of Covid-19, it is anticipated that there could be a rise in civil unrest in the USA. In a July 22, 2020 news report for Fox News, News Director, John Clarke’s feature report that gun sales have increased by 95% while ammunition sales have increased by 139%, compared with the same period last year. The NYPD spokesperson is reported as saying  “The bottom line is that there has never been a sustained surge in firearm sales quite like what we are in the midst of.” The findings come as civil unrest continues across the country sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis while in police custody on May 25, and as violent crime has been on the rise in recent weeks in cities across the United States.
EUROPE A report from Armstrong Economics dated July 22nd, 2020 clearly states that “Politicians are about to be confronted with the harsh reality of their insane lockdowns in Europe.

GERMANY now realizes there is building massive civil unrest and there is no doubt that this New Green World Order is out to end the car industry which is a major industry the will leave the workers without a future. The government is preparing for major civil unrest. Armstrong Economics has been warning Europe is being pushed into civil war as tourism has been crushed.

SERBIA – July 23rd, demonstrators in Belgrade attacked the Serbian Parliament throwing stones and bottles at the windows of the parliament building. We are looking at serious civil unrest which can lead to revolution insofar as breaking up the EU as they push for this New Green World Order which will destroy the future of so many in Europe.

The report goes on to say that only elitists view that such a transition is no problem. They underestimate the economic damage and this is the end of perpetually borrowing with no intension of ever repaying any debt.

HONK KONG, CHILE, VENESUELA, IRAN, LYBIA, NIGERIA, SUDAN, HAITE In another report by  Verisk Maplecroft, it has been predicted that up to 40% of countries around the world will experience civil unrest in 2020, with 75 countries being vulnerable to flashpoints.

Conflict Risk Alert

Covid-19 has and continues to have a major impact on Conflict Zones across the world. While the UN calls for a unilateral cease-fire in regions which are at risk or in the grip of armed conflict was short-lived. Many regions who were at risk or in the grip of political, economic, social and civil unrest over many months and in some cases years, have reverted to “business as usual” leading to escalations in conflict, violence, deaths and displacements.

If you are travelling to any of the countries listed below – take extreme care and exercise maximum caution as these countries at very high risk of descending into conflict and or experiencing a deepening of pre-existing conflict. If travelling to the countries listed below specialist Hostile Environment Close Protection and armoured transport should be considered a must!

ARMENIA  / ABAZAJAN The Nagorno-Karabakh areas in the border region between Armina and Abazajan saw a massive escalation in violence, with reports that at least 18-people were killed in armed conflict. This happened after a 2-year period of relative calm and raises the risk of further hostilities in the area during August.
YEMEN Adding to the Covid-19 crisis, intense fighting between government forces and the Huthis in the north of the country and Huthis and Saudi forces in the South of the country. July was a deadly month for civilians caught in the crossfire of the conflict. There is no end in sight for the violence within the country which has been the grip of a humanitarian crisis for several years.
LYBIA There is an increased risk of escalating violence and outright conflict in Lybia as the Turkish-backed forces loyal to the UN-recognised government prepared for an offensive in the centre of Lybia during July, while Egypt prepared for direct military intervention (also in July). The overall the outlook for August is dire.

 

Deteriorating situations

Covid-19 has had a massive effect on countries in Africa and South America. Over the past 5-months global data has revealed that poor people are at greater risk of Covid-19 than those from more affluent neighbourhoods /countries. This has been a particularly hard-blow to many impoverished 3rd-world countries. Covid-19 has served to underscore inequality at all levels within the Maslow Hierarchy globally. This has led to violent demonstration and the death of protests in some regions,  which only served to inflame the already volatile situation.

While travel restrictions are in place – it is unlikely that you will be able to travel to the world’s conflict zones, which in turn will cause problems in these countries as humanitarian aid dries up.

When the ability to travel to countries on the cusp or grip of war, we seriously recommend that you request a detailed country and regional risk assessment, as well as engaging the services of professional and experienced Hotile Close Protection Operators and where necessary the use of armoured vehicles.

AFRICA

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has put a lot of poor countries in the developing world under great pressure – there has been widespread demonstration activity, particularly centred on inadequate domestic distribution of food and medical aid.

MALI The ongoing political crisis in Mali deepened during July and the outlook for August is bleak as deadly clashes between government forces and protesters escalated. All efforts to mediate to date have been unsuccessful. In the North and East of Mali, the violence has reduced somewhat, however, the chances for peace seem remote.
THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO Ravaged by Covid-19, and with recent reports dating back some 10-days that Bubonic Plague has been recorded in resulting in 45 people so far testing positive, 9 of whom have died. Bubonic Plague is endemic in Ituri Province which since June 2020 has had 64 recorded cases and 14 deaths so far – this comes hot on the heels of the Ebola Outbreaks in 2019 and 2020. Added to which July saw a deadly increase in violence in the eastern provinces resulting in high death tolls amongst civilians as ongoing tensions remain high within the ruling coalition – there is currently little hope of peaceful resolutions to the political landscape within the country.
ETHIOPIA Egypt and Sudan suspended their virtual talks with Ethiopia after it proposed linking a deal on its newly constructed reservoir and giant hydroelectric dam to a broader agreement about the Blue Nile waters that would replace a colonial-era accord with Britain.

The African Union-led talks among the three key Nile basin countries are trying to resolve a years-long dispute over Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.

The issue of Ethiopia’s dam also threatens to escalate into a full-blown regional conflict as years of talks with a variety of mediators, including the U.S., have failed to produce a solution, meanwhile, Ethiopia is treading a political tightrope as its unresolved ethnic tensions erupt in violence again, leaving over 200 civilians and security personnel dead. The latest spurt of ethnic clashes was triggered by the murder in late June of Hachalu Hundessa in Addis Ababa.

SOUTH SUDAN South Sudan is a country in deep crisis. With inter-communal violence in the east and west of the country – thousands have fled to the eastern border region with Ethiopia to escape the surge violent clashes. The problems faced by South Sudan are not limited to intercommunal violence between ethnic groups, other political figures are involved in deliberately stoking the conflict for the benefit of their communities. The most recent violence has left dozens of people dead, and was already in badly hit due to displacement, flooding, hunger and Covid-19.

While the fighting started months ago, leaving hundreds of people dead and starving as harvests and livestock was destroyed. The power-sharing agreement between President Kiir and former rebel leader, now Vice President Riek Machar is fragile and has been beset with setbacks, which doesn’t bode well for the oil-rich East African country.

SUDAN Fourteen months since the revolutionary uprising which saw tens of thousands of Sudanese people take to the streets in protests against corrupt leadership, and violent misrule, unseated Omar Al-Bashir, transitional reforms have been very slow to take hold and the corrupt old-guard are waiting in the wings to seize the opportunity to regain power. Meanwhile, the economic crisis that sparked the people’s revolution continues to bite, now exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While a transitional government has been established with a civilian Prime Minister it is overseen by the “Sovereign Council” which is comprised of civilians and powerful military figures – making for uneasy bedfellows and resulting in virtual inertia when it comes to enacting sweeping reforms and steering the country to democratic elections in 2022.

The Sudanese people returned to the streets to renew their protests and put pressure on the transitional government resulted in deadly violence in Darfur.

MOZAMBIQUE A year after the Mozambican government signed a peace agreement with the opposition party RENAMO, the country has yet to achieve its main goal: putting an end to armed violence and ensuring lasting peace and prosperity. The Islamic insurgency in on the rise in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, one of the most impoverished regions of the country – but also a place of potential wealth generation with its natural liquid gas reserves. Villagers report that on the 30th July at least nine civilians were killed in new attacks. Villagers report that these insurgent attacks are regular and repeated. The armed insurgents come to the villages wearing hoods and Islamic handkerchief to steal food and terrorise villagers, who flee to the woods where they stayed overnight and on return the following day they find the dead had been beheaded.

Despite a large security force presence in the area, the insurgent attacks continue and are likely to continue for a long-time.

ZIMBABWE Zimbabwe is quite possibly one of the most corrupt countries on the African Continent – On the 3rd August, Zimbabwe's military and police are arresting scores of opposition members and activists after authorities thwarted an anti-government protest last week. More than 60 people have been arrested so far in the continuing clampdown.

The Zimbabwean police and government officials have repeatedly denied allegations of human rights abuses, saying those arrested or being sought by the police were inciting people to revolt against Mnangagwa’s government. Investigative journalist, Mdudzuzi Mathuthu, prominent for reporting on alleged government corruption linked to purchases of COVID-19 personal protection equipment and drugs, is in hiding. He told Associated Press “Journalism is just a job, but in Zimbabwe, it can be a matter of life and death. They have not only come just after me but my family as well,” meanwhile Muchehiwa, a journalism student, is receiving medical treatment after alleged torture caused him to suffer “severe injuries resulting in acute renal failure and severe tissue damage around the buttocks and under the feet.” Students have been arrested for simply walking in their neighbourhoods with a Zimbabwean flag or tweeting about Zimbabwe's deepening economic and political problems, which have been compounded by Covid-19.

NIGERIA Jihadists resume their attacks as the governor in north-east Nigeria has suggested that efforts to defeat the jihadist group Boko Haram are being undermined by elements of the security apparatus.

Borno State's Governor Babagana Zulum said President Muhammadu Buhari needed to know sabotage within the system was frustrating the work to end the insurgency. Babagana Zulum was speaking bluntly days after his heavily armed convoy suddenly had to flee a town near Lake Chad because of sustained gunfire.

The army blamed Boko Haram. The governor suggested soldiers were behind it and once again used the word sabotage.

Babagana Zulum also questioned why the Nigerian army was stopping thousands of displaced people from returning home to their fields whilst soldiers were instead cultivating the land.

Governor Zulum is not the first person to essentially suggest that corruption within the military is prolonging the people's suffering in north-east Nigeria.

TUNISIA Tunisia’s President designates a new Prime Minister in the hope that this move will end the political crisis in the country. New premier Hichem Mechichi, 46, an independent, now has a month to form a government capable of winning a confidence vote in parliament by a simple majority, or the president will dissolve parliament and call for another election with urgent economic decisions hanging over Tunisia. While Tunisia has applauded by the west, for its relatively successful transition to democracy since the 2011 revolution that ended decades of autocratic rule despite periodic crises, many Tunisians are frustrated with economic stagnation, a decline in living standards and decay in public services while political parties often seem more focused on staying in office instead of tackling problems. The coronavirus pandemic has made things worse.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

CHINA China has been had to face numerous challenges in July and it is expected that there will continue in August – the ongoing trade war between China and the USA continues to ratchet up the tensions between the two countries. For the moment the tensions are focusing on war-on-words and tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomatic personnel. Hawawi and TicTock have also been in the frame with President Trump stating that TickTock could be banned from the USA by September 2020.

China has also inflamed neighbours in the South China Sea area, which has seen Samsung continue to close operations in China and relocate them to Singapore. Taiwan is particularly threatened by China’s military activities in the South China Sea, and have stated that in light of what has happened in Hong Kong they would never agree to China’s offer of One Nation-Two Systems.

Internally the people of China, are not particularly happy with the Chinese Communist Party, and many have taken to their social media to question and complain – in the past month due to heavy rains the CCP, released water overnight and without warning to take the pressure off the Three Gorges Dam,  “without notice” – this has been an ongoing event which has led to severe flooding in regions south of Shanghai. While in other independent news report showed footage of major problems with grain storage facilities in the North East of the Country leading to fears of famine in the coming months. There was anger in the Whuan when the CCP delivered meat to people in the city in dirty garbage trucks and just dumped it on the street… and finally, people have been arrested for going to the banks to withdraw their money amid fears of a Chinese banking crisis…

TAIWAN The U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services is scheduled to visit Taiwan in coming days in the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break informal diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. The visit by Alex Azar, and especially a planned meeting with Taiwan’s president, will likely create new friction between the U.S. and China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary.

Taiwan is a key irritant in the troubled relationship between the world's two largest economies, which are also at odds over trade, technology, territorial claims in the South China Sea and China's response to the coronavirus pandemic. In a tweet, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it looks forward to welcoming Azar and his delegation. “This is the highest-level visit by a U.S. Cabinet official since 1979! Taiwan and the U.S. are like-minded partners cooperating closely in combating coronavirus and promoting freedom democracy & human rights worldwide.”

This is bound to inflame the already tense relations between the USA and China as well as posing additional Chinese threats to Taiwan

INDIA
(NON-KASHMIR)
Clashes between China and India escalated in June and July with deadly fighting between the two countries in the border regions which have led to deaths on both sides. Additionally, India has banned several Chinese apps in the country also in June and July causing increased economic and trade tensions between the two countries.

MIDDLE EAST

IRAQ Iraq's energy crisis is coming to a head as the country faces heat waves, lockdowns, and blackouts. Two protesters were killed by security forces in Baghdad last week while demonstrating against power cuts.

In Iraq’s oil-rich south, the scorching summer months pose painful new choices in the age of the coronavirus: stay at home in the sweltering heat with electricity cut off for hours, or go out and risk the virus.

Meanwhile, The Islamic State took advantage of COVID-19 restrictions on the movements of U.S. troops and Iraqi Security Forces to step up attacks in Iraq.

 

If you are travelling at any time this year and would like a more detailed country and regional risk assessment, before deciding whether you need the services of an International Executive Close Protection Team or not, please do not hesitate to contact us at
Ares Risk Management.

Finally, we’d like to wish you a safe and COVID-19 free August!

 

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