Monthly Travel Safety Report

June 2020 – Travel Risk Report

Welcome to June,

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.

~ SETTING THE SCENE FOR JUNE  ~

Coronavirus (aka Covid-19) continued to keep the world at varying levels of on lockdown. In the main, the global population is receiving mixed messages regarding whether to continue to work from home or whether we can return to their former work locations.

During this week, we in the UK saw a further relaxation of Lockdown restrictions. Some children returned to school as part of their phased return, some industry sectors have been given the green-light to resume operations, and flights are becoming available, albeit, at reduced levels.

In the UK the government announced earlier this week that international visitors to the UK would have to quarantine themselves for 14-days on their arrival to the UK. IAG, owners of British Airways is considering making a legal challenge to the government regarding the 14-day quarantine rule.

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

In a report from Bloomberg, (24 April 2020) suggested that we could see a rise in fares, a change in the configuration of seating plans within airlines, a reduced number of flights and a reduction in available travel destinations.

In a survey by the International Air Transport Association survey found 40% of recent travellers anticipate waiting for at least 6-months after the virus is contained before flying again. With budget carrier EasyJet Plc is among those planning to keep the middle seats empty, at least initially, to reassure customers about personal spacing, while Korean Air Lines Co., have issued cabin crew with goggles, masks, gloves, and protective gowns.

The main takeaway for this week is that we’re about to see a lot of changes, and all signs point to more easing. After that, there’s another block of restrictions expected to be announced around June 15, and many countries have stated their intent to begin reopening at that time.

This month we have also compiled a supplementary list of the places where you may be able to travel to – we also recommend that you check with your Travel Management Company and/or Agency for a clearer perspective of available flights, as the reopening of the Aviation Industry is very fluid and subject to rapid change.

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

CHILE 3rd June 2020
Magnitude: 6.9

A very strong earthquake has hit the northern regions of Chile on Wednesday, causing many people to wake up from sleep. The quake with magnitude 6.9, according to Chilean seismological agency, was centered in the Antofagasta region near the border to Argentina, luckily the quake was at a depth of approx., 120 km.

Strong quake intensities were felt in surrounding (mostly sparsely populated) areas including the city Calama. In the aftermath of the quake, it was reported that many of the buildings in the immediate area of the quake experienced minor damage such as cracked walls. Weak shaking was felt in many parts of Northern Chile and parts of Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.

No tsunami warning was issued due to the hypocenter location.

INDONESIA

 

3rd, & 4th  June 2020

Magnitude: 5.7 and 6.8 – 7.1 respectively.

On 4 June, an earthquake of 6.8 M at a depth of 111 km hit Halmahera. The epicenter located on Halmahera sea, 99 km north of Daruba city, North Maluku. No tsunami alert was issued by the Indonesian Met Service.

The earthquake was felt in some parts of Sulawesi and Maluku. No casualties have been reported. However approximately, 130 houses were damaged. Most of the damaged infrastructure is located on Morotai Island.

A second quake hit Indonesia on the 4th June, this quake had a magnitude of 7.1  jolting Indonesia’s North Maluku province, again no tsunami warning was issued, and there are currently no reports of casualties or damage to infrastructure.

USA 4th June 2020
Magnitude 5.5

On 4 June, an earthquake of 5.5 M at a depth of 8 km hit South Carolina. The epicenter was approx. 22km east of Ridgecrest City, Kern County. The area was affected by a series of aftershocks with a magnitude of 3.5, it is estimated that up to 1000 people were affected by strong shaking; however, according to media reports, there have been no reports of damage or disruption in the affected area.

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.

INDIA Cyclone Nisarga
Category 1.

Staring as a deep depression around the 2nd June, the low-pressure system built up in the Arabian Sea and was moving north-east towards the western coast of India. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had been carefully monitoring the Cyclone Nisarga closely as it was expecting it to make landfall in Mumbi, thankfully the cyclone altered its course slightly and made landfall on the 3rd June in the Ailbaug and moved inland towards Nashik, and western Madhya Pradesh.

MEXICO | GUATEMALA | USA & BELIZE Tropical Depression Cristobal held onto its strength Thursday night as it continued to pummel Mexico and Central America with 35-mph winds and torrential rainfall.

As soon as Cristobal moves over land, a northward track is expected and residents along the Gulf Coast may experience tropical-storm-force winds and dangerous storm surge this weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Landfall as a strong tropical storm in the U.S. is most likely, but there is a chance that Cristobal reaches hurricane strength as it spends time over warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

How quickly Cristobal gains strength over the Gulf of Mexico late Friday to Saturday may hold the key to intensity, later on, meteorologists said.

If the storm rapidly organizes as it moves back over the warm water, then the risk of it becoming a hurricane before landfall will increase substantially.

Most projections put Cristobal's U.S. landfall in Louisiana, but a few models show a landfall in Florida's Panhandle.

"We are forecasting Cristobal to make landfall over the central coast of Louisiana late Sunday or Sunday evening," said Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather's top hurricane expert.

Flooding, Landslides, Mudslides

INDIA There is a risk of flooding and mudslides in and around Ailbaug and moved inland towards Nashik, and western Madhya Pradesh, as Cyclone Nisarga moved through the area, causing high winds and torrential rain.
USA Louisiana, Mississippi delta, Carolina, the Florida panhandle may be subject to flooding in the wake of Tropical storm Cristobal

VOLCANOES

No new volcanic eruptions to report during early June.

DROUGHTS

No new drought areas to report on for June 2020.

Disease Alert

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 epicenters 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

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

GENERAL TRAVEL ADVICE

As of the 8th of June, many countries across Europe and the world are starting to re-awaken their travel industries, the UK included. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to advise that people avoid all but necessary travel!

With regards to travel to the UK, the latest advice is that people will have to self-quarantine for 14-days on arrival or face steep fines, which have been quoted at £1000 per infraction of the rules. This includes British nationals who are returning to the UK from abroad.

  • Scandinavian countries are not allowing travellers from the UK to visit their countries at the moment as our infection rates are much higher.
  • France is implementing a “reciprocal terms” as those which the UK has imposed, for any French visitors coming to the UK.
  • Spain continues to impose a 14-day quarantine period for travellers visiting the country and have stated that they will relax the rules further on the 1st of July.
  • Portugal has announced that they will not be imposing quarantines, however, they will be taking temperatures and random tests at the point of entry. Visitors will only be required to self-quarantine if they are found to be infected with Covid-19.

The list of countries where UK visitor will be able to travel to is growing on an almost daily basis, so we advise that you speak to your travel agent or Travel Management for a more detailed list of which countries allowing entry to visit UK visitors and the terms and conditions of any restrictions and quarantines the country you may choose to visit may have in place.

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!

USA In the aftermath of the unlawful death of George Floyd on the 25th of May 2020, we have seen protests descend into rioting, looting and violence across 50 USA states.

200 cities across these 50 States imposed curfews on the 3rd June, which added to the conflict between “Black Live’s Matters” protesters and the police, and President Trump declared Antifa domestic terrorist group.

While protests in the USA have started peacefully, they have very quickly and often without warning descended into highly violent riots.

At this time UK nationals are not allowed to enter the USA, due to Covid-19 restrictions

UK In the UK there have been protests, in support of “Black Live’s Matter” – Unfortunately, while many of the protests we have seen have started peacefully, some descended into acts of wanton thuggery, vandalism and criminal damage to our national monuments. Particularly abhorrent has been the defacement of War Memorials in London and other parts of the country have been damaged and desecrated.

There were reports in the first week of June that peaceful protests had been hijacked by vandals and thugs and that “rent-a-mob” mentality overtook the protests. Over the weekend protests in London, turned violent as police and police horses were attacked, being pelted by brisk, bottles and other projectiles.

The UK has not imposed curfews however in an announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the vandals and thugs will be arrested and have their day in court.

ITALY | GERMANY | SPAIN | BELGIUM, DENMARK | HUNGARY

 

Black Live’s Matter protests were also held in Australia | Japan | South Korea

Black Lives Matter protests have taken place in Italy, Germany Spain, Belgium, Denmark and Hungary.

In France, protesters draw a parallel between George Floyd's death and that of Adama Traoré, a young black man who died in police custody in Persan, north of Paris, four years ago. Traoré's family has repeatedly claimed police officers tackled him to the ground and that he died due to suffocation. Other cities affected by protests include Bordeaux, Lyon, Lille, Rennes and Marseille. Some skirmishes were reported,

In Berlin, police estimated that 15,000 people gathered in the city centre for a Black Lives Matter rally on Saturday afternoon. As elsewhere, protesters held up signs with slogans such as "No justice, no peace". The scenes were calm, though overnight on Friday police said several store windows were smashed and walls were painted with slogans referring to George Floyd's death. Thousands also took to the streets in other German cities such as Cologne and Dusseldorf on Saturday, as well as in smaller towns.

In Italy, hundreds, maybe thousands, gathered in Rome and knelt in silence for eight minutes before screaming "George Floyd is here! No to racism" in a protest organised by multiple organisations on Sunday. Other cities which have experienced protests include Milan, Naples, Bari & Genoa.

In Spain, hundreds gathered outside the US embassy in Madrid on Sunday calling for justice, some of them waving placards against US President Donald Trump. Several hundreds of people demonstrated in Barcelona, chanting against police brutality, but also paying homage to George Floyd by observing silence.

In Budapest, people staged a sit-in outside the US embassy on Sunday, chanting songs but also observing minutes of silence.

BURUNDI The Presidential Elections which were held on 20th May, have been marred by allegations of fraud and voter rigging.

There is a high risk that a post-election political crisis may be looming especially after the Courts have upheld the country’s election results. The rise of violence since the protests began in April threatens a return to civil war in Burundi.

YEMEN Fierce fighting between government forces and Huthis continued in the north, escalating the struggle between government forces and southern separatists threaten to unravel Nov 2019 Riyadh Agreement.

The UN continues its efforts at establishing a nationwide ceasefire. Saudi Arabia has attempted to mediate in the south, however, this has had the reverse effects with the increased risk of intensified violence in the north and south. The outlook for June suggests that the risk of further violence throughout the country remain high.

Added to which the Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the already volatile situation. Reports coming out of Yemen would suggest that 55% of the population is infected. In May 40,000 deaths from Covid-19 were recorded and in mid-May Aden was described as being infested with Covid-19 cases.

LYBIA During May 2020, the Tripoli-aligned forces claimed significant military victories as urban areas in capital Tripoli faced unprecedented shelling and civilian casualties.

Socio-economic conditions continued to deteriorate amid COVID-19 lockdown and oil blockade.

External military support on both sides could fuel an escalation in the fighting during June.

Deteriorating situations

Covid-19 has had a massive effect on countries in Africa and South America. Over the past 3-months global data has revealed that poor people are at greater risk of Covid-19 than those from more affluent neighbourhoods and countries. This has been a particularly hard-blow to many impoverished developing-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 violent and 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 Hostile 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.

In Kenya, there have been several reports of Intercommunal violence in the west of the country, while Al Shabab continued with their insurgency and attacks on security forces in the east. Politically, President Kenyatta was brutal in his seizure of control of the ruling party, which trigger the exclusion of senators aligned with the deputy president and the deputy party leader.

In South-Sudan, intercommunal violence in the east, south and west of the country exploded, leaving hundreds dead as a result. Meanwhile, powersharing negotiation between President Kiir and former rebel leader turned VP Riek Machar remained stalled. On the 29th May, the UN Security Council extended the arms embargo and targeted sanctions against individuals until May 2021.

In Sudan, Intercommunal violence flared up once again in the east, west and south due to delays in the peace talks between the transitional government and rebel groups. The stalled implementation of transitional arrangements only served to make a precarious situation worse and in the border areas with Ethiopia, tensions erupted.

On what could be viewed as a positive note for the region is the tripartite talks between the Water Ministries of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt as efforts are made to bridge the difference between the parties, the overfilling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile river. All three countries have agreed to resume their tripartite meetings and there is hope that an equitable agreement will be found.

In Malawi, political tensions rose and deadly clashes erupted between the ruling party and opposition supporters as Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed President Mutharika’s appeal against 2019 presidential election rerun. New elections have been scheduled for 23 June.

Malawi like many African countries is highly polarised. Pre-and post-election violence and demonstrations which often turn violent is common and results in many deaths not only of the opposing parties and security forces but also of civilians caught in the cross-fire of political unrest.

LATIN AMERICA

In Latin America, it has been reported that while countries in this region exercise national lockdowns, the lives of women and children are at greater risk than usual of being murdered. It should be noted that violence against women and the murder of women and girls purely because of gender has always been high. Women in Mexico are particularly worried because 98% of murderers and rapists walk around in their communities with impunity.

Across most of Latin America, cartel and other crime are down, as populations observe national lockdown guidelines, however, in Bogota city alone, authorities have seen a 225% surge in reports of violence against women. This led to demonstrations in Columbia and Mexico.

Despite the unprecedented levels of violence, some human rights defenders see this moment as a turning point, and while it is estimated that on average 2-women a day are being killed across Columbia. Domestic violence and femicide is no longer the hidden crime it has been for years and it is hoped that in a post-pandemic world, (when the lockdown is lifted) that the numbers of women killed across Latin America will fall.

In Venezuela, President Maduro foiled an attempted armed by sea incursion which reportedly was designed to topple his Presidency. The authorities detained dozens suspected of involvement in the incursion and increased its suppressed opposition. On May 12 the government extended for a further 30-days the national Covid-19 Lockdown. Throughout May and into early June, citizen’s have continued to protests over petrol, water and food shortages. Despite a U.S. warning against Iranian assistance and shipments of fuel to Venezuela, the first of five Iranian tankers arrived in Venezuelan waters 24 May, while in late May a virtual meeting between the USA, Russia and other’s convened at Sweeden’s request to come up with a plan for a negotiated solution to the political crisis.

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 June.

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