Welcome to November,
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 NOVEMBER ~
Coronavirus (aka Covid-19) has continued to keep the world in varying levels of disarray, and economic shrinkage. While some business sectors were slowly opening up, recent localised spikes in infection rates have led to the reintroduction of restricted movement and curfews. While lockdown measures were lifted across the travel industry in late-June and July, quarantines continue to be in place depending on where you are travelling to or from. Your Travel Management Company is best placed to advise you if quarantines apply to your country of destination or on your return. They will also be able to advise and guide you with regards to pre-travel Covid-testing. Then in late October, a 2nd lockdown was announced for the UK to run from the 5th November to the 2nd December, with Liverpool being asked to comply with particularly strict measures.
The UK government continues to advise UK travellers that if they must travel – that travel can do so for essential journey’s only.
The latest news on the Coronavirus can be found here:
- Government Travel Advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
- UK Government – Coronavirus Advice: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- NHS Coronavirus Advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
In the first 9-days of November, seven earthquakes have been recorded.
- 1st November 2020 – a 5.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded in the Maluku region of Indonesia. To date authorities state there has been no damage or casualties and a tsunami alert was not issued.
- 3rd November 2020 – A 6.0 Magnitude earthquake was recorded 10Km off the coast of Chile – there were no reports of damage or casualties and a tsunami alert was not issued.
- 3rd November 2020 – A 5.7 magnitude oceanic quake was recorded off the coast of Tonga – no damage or casualties have been reported and a tsunami alert was not issued.
- 6th November 2020 – A 6.2 magnitude earthquake was registered on Saturday near the Japanese island of Chichijima in the Ogasawara archipelago over 600 miles southeast of Tokyo. No tsunami alert has been declared. There is also no information about any damages and victims caused by the earthquake.
- 7th November 2020 – A magnitude 6.1 earthquake was felt overnight in Samoa near the village of Hihifo. The earthquake hit late at 10.27 pm local Samoa time at a shallow depth of 10 km. The exact magnitude, epicentre, and depth of the quake might be has been revised as seismologists review data and refine their calculations, or as other agencies issue their report. A second report was later issued by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which listed it as a magnitude 6.4 earthquake. A third agency, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), reported the same quake at magnitude 6.2… Based on the preliminary seismic data, the quake should have been widely felt by almost everyone in the area of the epicentre. There is no danger of a tsunami in the area. There have been 5 earthquakes in the past 30 days and 77 earthquakes in the past 365 days near Samoa.
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.
28th October to – 9th November 2020 – Super Tuphoon Goni-20 – Phillipeans
On 1 November 2020, Super Typhoon Goni (local name Rolly), the world’s most powerful tropical cyclone this year, brought torrential rains, violent winds, mudslides, and storm surges. Joint rapid assessments were conducted in Albay and Catanduanes in collaboration with the national government, local government units and humanitarian organizations. Humanitarian needs and priorities appeal is launched to support government-led response. The world’s strongest storm this year, which had reached a super typhoon category and brought violent winds and intense rainfall, further weakened with 125 kph (78 miles per hour) sustained winds and gusts of up to 170 kph, the weather bureau said.
At least 10 people died and three others were missing after Typhoon Goni, the world’s strongest typhoon this year, barrelled through the south of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon on Sunday, an initial government report showed.
More than 300 houses were buried under volcanic rocks and mudflows from Mayon Volcano in severely hit Albay province in the Bicol region, a lawmaker said. At least seven people are believed to be buried alive. Storm surges hit some coastal towns, while rivers overflowed and dikes were destroyed, submerging several villages in Bicol. The dead and missing were all in Bicol, including nine in Albay, the Office of Civil Defence said.
Over 390,000 people had fled to safer ground, including more than 345,000 to evacuation centres, raising concerns about compliance with coronavirus-related health protocols.
4th – 5th November 2020 – Tropical Cyclone Astaini – Philippines
Tropical Cyclone ASTAINI (named Siony in the Philippines) continued over the western Philippine Sea toward the Luzon Strait on 4 November, as a Tropical Storm.
On 5 November, its centre was located approximately 500 km east of Itbayat Island (Batanes Islands, the northernmost part of the Philippines), and approximately 620 km south-east of the southern coast of Taiwan, with maximum, sustained winds of 102 km/h. ASTAINI is forecast to continue westward over the Philippine Sea and it is expected to reach the Batanes Islands in the very early morning (UTC) of 6 November, as a Typhoon. After that, it is expected to continue over the northern South China Sea on 6-7 November, remaining a Typhoon.
On 6-8 November, heavy rainfall, strong wind and storm surge are forecast over Babuyan, Batanes Islands, and the Cagayan Province (northern Luzon). PAGASA has issued a Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no. 1 over the area.Heavy rainfall is forecast also over southern Taiwan for the same period.
9th November 2020 – Tropical Cyclone (Typhoon) Etau – Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
After passing through Visayas, Southern Luzon and Mindoro Regions (Central Philippines) on the 6 – 8th November, Tropical Storm Etau is moving westward over the South Cina Sea. On 9th November its centre was located approximately 440 km east of Tuy Hoa (Phu Yein, central south Vietnam with a maximum sustained wind speed of 65 km/h.
Etau is forecast to strengthen as it makes landfall south of Tuy Hoa later this evening with maximum sustained winds up to 86 km/h, after that Etau is expected to weaken as it moves west overland, reaching central-eastern Cambodia tomorrow morning (10th November).
Locally heavy rainfall is forecast.
Between the 9th -12th November, heavy rainfall and strong wind are expected for central-southern provinces of Vietnam, northern and western Cambodia.
31st October – 9th November – Tropical Cyclone Eta – Nicaragua, Honduras
The passage of Tropical Cyclone Eta across eastern Central America has caused heavy rainfall, extensive flooding and landslides in several fatalities and damage. According to local media, more than 50 people have died in Guatemala after mudslides and flood events, which have affected 27,770 people in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Peten Quiche and Solola.
In Honduras, 13 people have died and more than 3,600 have been sheltering in evacuation centres. At least 5 people have died and 2 are missing because of flooding and landslides in Chiriqui Provence, Panama, while 2 fatalities have been confirmed in Nicaragua.
FLOODING, LANDSLIDES, MUDSLIDES
Cyclonic and super typhoon activities have caused flooding, landslides and mudslides as described in the section above.
FOREST FIRE DANGERS
Medium or high danger warnings have been issued in southern Portugal, Spain, Greek islands, Sicily, Cyprus, Bulgaria, east Romania, Turkey, Ukraine.
Mt Sinabung, Indonesia –Gray volcanic ash is spewed from Mount Sinabung after an eruption in western Indonesia on Sunday. (8th November 2020)
The volcano in North Sumatra province spewed smoke and ash more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) into the air and hot ash clouds travelled one kilometre (0.6 miles) southeast, the Geological Hazard Mitigation Center said. and the Indonesian Volcanology. Villagers were advised to stay five kilometres (3.1 miles) from the crater’s mouth and to be careful around the lava, the agency said. So far there has been no impact on air travel, according to the Transport Ministry.
Nothing to report -during the early part of November 2020.
The Corona Virus (aka Covid-19, and SARS-Cov-19) continues to plague the world affecting not only health but national and global economies … whereas in the early summer it seemed like the world was getting a grip of the virus with both infection and deaths dropping, the past month has seen a spike in the spread of the virus, while so far deaths have been limited.,/p>
In the UK, has now entered a 2nd lockdown, which is scheduled to be in force till 2nd December, as has France, Germain, Italy and other European countries, thought the dates and durations are different from those in the UK.
COVID-19 – Global Mapping.
|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|
At this time the disease is not making a resurgence. Rather, it never left circulation, instead, sticking to areas where contact with animals and humans is commonplace.
|China, Mongolia, USA, Africa, South AmericaBubonic plague cases have seemingly made a resurgence amidst the calamitous backdrop of 2020, with several people now dead after contracting the ancient disease. The shutdown of Suji Xincun is the latest measure taken by authorities in the vicinity of Mongolia, which has seen the bulk of cases spread from contact with animals. The district of Damao Banner, in which the village resides, is on a level three alert for plague prevention in hopes to stem the potential tide of infections, caused by bites from bacteria-carrying fleas.|
There has been little change in the causes of civil unrest across the world over the past month – between the rising pressure of the pandemic, economic hardship, police brutality and other social issues come to the fore. Political protests are likely as elections loom in the USA, Africa, Cyprus, Lithuania, Georgia, Bosnia, Romania, Moldovia, Checz Republic, are to be expected.
|USA||With the elections in the USA over the country remains significantly divided and only time will tell whether the nations will descend into civil war (as some are suggesting) or whether the wounds will be healed and peaceful co-existence will resume. Of the states which in the immediate run-up to the elections that were experiencing persistent civil unrest, some of which was very destructive and violent was Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington… not to be confused with Vancouver, British Columbia Canada…|
|EUROPE||Europe, once again, is the centre of the global pandemic, accounting for almost half the world’s infections last week. (2 – 8 November). But as desperately needed financial support fails to materialise, and track and trace systems fail to cope with the surge, there is public exasperation and, in some cases, open rebellion. On Friday evening, (6th November) protestors threw Molotov cocktails at police in Florence, in the latest outbreak of social unrest following Conte’s new rules. As the second wave of covid infection spikes across Europe has sparked a wave of revolts from Milan to Manchester, and Marseille to Madrid. In Germany, where a partial lockdown begins on Monday, (9 November) thousands of workers and employers in the arts and hospitality industries marched in Berlin last week.|
|GLOBALLY||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.|
The COVID-19 pandemic has not dampened the appetite for conflict risks in some of the most vulnerable of volatile countries in the world – UN calls for a unilateral cease-fire in regions which are at risk or in the grip of armed conflict was short-lived, and has generally failed. 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!
|The military offensives by Azerbaijan against the historically Armenian land of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), has increased in severity in recent weeks. Civilian areas continue to be targeted with tanks, helicopters, drones, heavy artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, including Smerch, and cluster bombs – in contravention of international law.
Recent Attacks include:
|CÔTE D’IVOIRE||Several thousand people have fled from election-related violence in Cote d’Ivoire to seek sanctuary in neighbouring Liberia, Ghana and Togo, fearing a repeat of the major conflict that followed the 2011 elections, Th UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday (3rd Nov.)
“Violent clashes erupted after the presidential election which was held on 31 October leaving at least a dozen dead and many more injured, according to the latest reports”.
|ETHIOPIA||Ethiopia’s Tigray region asserts that fighter jets have bombed locations around its capital, Mekele, aiming to force the region “into submission”, while Ethiopia’s army says it has been forced into an “unexpected and aimless war”. Earlier, Ethiopia mobilised for war in the northern Tigray region, dashing international hopes of averting a conflict between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the powerful ethnic faction that led the ruling coalition for decades.
On Thursday, the deputy army chief said the “country has entered into unexpected war” after Ethiopia’s lower house of parliament approved unanimously a six-month state of emergency in the region which is ruled by the opposition Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
“Our country has entered into a war that it did not want. This war is a shameful war. It does not have a point. The people of Tigray and its youth and its security forces should not die for this pointless war. Ethiopia is their country,” the deputy chief of the army, Birhanu Jula, said on state television, adding that troops were being mustered from around the country and dispatched to Tigray.
|GUINEA||Guinea’s leading opposition figure Cellou Dalein Diallo has appealed against President Alpha Conde’s victory in last month’s presidential election at the country’s constitutional court. The opposition figure’s lawyer, Amadou Diallo, told AFP news agency that the appeal, filed on Sunday, contains “irrefutable evidence” that irregularities marred the election.
Conde, 82, won a hotly contested October 18 election, according to provisional official results, setting the stage for a controversial third term in office. But Cellou, 68, had already claimed victory, citing data his activists gathered at individual polling stations.
That move triggered weeks of clashes between his supporters and security forces in the West African nation, in which at least 20 people were killed. While Amadou did not offer details about the evidence, the lawyer said it would allow the constitutional court to annul Conde’s victory. Three other losing presidential candidates also filed appeals to the constitutional court, according to a court official who declined to be named.
|YEMEN||The armed conflict in Yemen has resulted in the largest humanitarian crisis in the world; parties to the conflict have killed and injured thousands of Yemeni civilians. According to the Yemen Data Project, more than 17,5000 civilians have been killed and injured since 2015. A quarter of all civilians killed in air raids were women and children. More than 20 million people in Yemen are experiencing food insecurity; 10 million of them are at risk of famine. In mid-October, two planes carrying prisoners exchanged by the warring parties in to return about 1,000 men home across the front lines, according to Reuters witnesses…
However, the fighting continues… in the past few days Ansar Allah and Saudi-led coalition forces to fight for control of Madghal and Maas bases. In reports from the front lines on 6th November, Ansar Allah had advanced along the Sanaa-Marib Road and there was a possibility that Maas base would be liberated. Meanwhile, Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed Madghal district 17 times in the last 48 hours (4 – 6 November). According to latest updates (8th November 2020) on the west of Marib fronts, Ansar Allah ceased its attacks in western and southern axes of Maas base and resumed fighting in the northern areas of Raghwan district and around the Madghal area.
Covid-19 has had a massive effect on countries in Africa and South America. Over the past 6-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.
|The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO||Political stability in the Democratic republic remains fragile and could very easily unravel and escalate into open conflict, while in the east of the country deadly violence continues unabated – the principal causes have been due to the Balkanisation of regions within the country. In the past 8-days there have been reports that at least 21 people have been killed in a massacre suspected to have been committed by militants from the Islamist ADF group in conflict-wracked northeast DR Congo, a local official said Saturday (7 Nov).|
|TANZANIA||Tensions rose in Tanzania as the main opposition leader rejected the likely outcome of elections that have been marred by allegations of fraud and in which President John Magufuli looks set to win a second term. Since Magufuli came to power, there have been repeated attacks on civil and human rights groups, contracting of the political space and diminishing of the opposition’s role. The laws that stifle freedom of speech have been extended to censor musicians who dare to speak out on issues of governance.
Last week, Tanzania completed its sixth cycle of multi-party elections. The country’s dominant ruling party – Chama Cha Mapinduzi – was declared the winner by a landslide; and this time around, Magufuli won a highly suspect 84 per cent against 13 per cent for Tundu Lissu, leader of the opposition Chadema party. Lissu had only recently returned from Belgium to contest the polls after surviving an assassination attempt three years ago. The result has drawn bitter denunciation from the opposition and has triggered election-related violence.
|CÔTE D’IVOIRE||See “Conflict Risk Alert” above|
|GUINEA||See “Conflict Risk Alert” above|
|NIGERIA||Protests began roughly two weeks ago demanding the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which was accused by Nigerians and groups such as Amnesty International of extortion, brutality and torture Dozens of protesters took to the streets of Nigeria’s capital Abuja calling out police abuse, activists said. Activists said four protesters were arrested on Friday. The Nigerian Senate has warned that Nigeria may not escape another youths’ protest as witnessed after the #EndSARS protest if it fails to effectively address the issues of youth unemployment, poverty reduction, food security and remarkable improvement in living standards. Meanwhile in the North-east and North-west of the country criminal and Jihadist violence persists.|
|AFGHANISTAN||At least four people have been killed and about 40 people wounded after a suicide car bomber targeted a police base in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province, a provincial official said. (9 Nov 2020) Paramedics have been searching the rubble of homes destroyed by the explosion hours after the attack late on Sunday night in the province’s Maiwand district, said Mohammad Ashraf Nadery, the provincial director of Kandahar’s public health department. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack that comes a week after 22 people, including 18 students, were killed when gunmen went on a rampage at Kabul University, an attack claimed by the ISIL (SIS) armed group.
Violence has soared in Afghanistan in recent months, even as Taliban and government negotiators hold peace talks in Qatar. The two sides have made little progress and attacks continue despite warnings from the US that continued violence could derail the talks.
The Taliban expects President-elect Joe Biden to abide by the deal signed with his predecessor Donald Trump to remove American troops from Afghanistan. In February Trump’s administration signed a deal with the Taliban to take American troops out of Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for several security guarantees and a commitment from the insurgents to stop trans-national jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State from operating in the country.
|PAKISTAN||Pakistan appears to have entered uncharted political waters. Not only is the military’s dominance and interference in politics being challenged, its role as an arbiter between contending political forces is also being undermined like never before. This is unfamiliar territory, not just for the army but also the civilians.
Meanwhile on the Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry and PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah both think that “institution-level talks” can solve the political crisis in Pakistan and de-escalate tensions between the government and the Opposition.
“Someone should play a role [to diffuse the tension] in this fight as we say in Punjabi Koi Barabar Churaaday, otherwise it will lead to destruction,” warned Sanaullah.
|SRI LANKA||Sri Lanka’s parliament has approved constitutional changes that give more power to the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, leading to fears the authoritarian leader will strengthen his hold on the country. The constitutional amendment, which was passed with a large majority, gives Rajapaksa the power to hold ministries, sack ministers and have authority over formerly independent commissions that oversee elections, police, human rights and anti-corruption efforts. It also allows the president to dissolve parliament halfway through a five-year term.
Since he was elected in November 2019, Rajapaksa has overseen a crackdown on opposition and dissent, as well as a consolidation of authority within his own family. The SLPP’s control over parliament paved the way for Rajapaksa to introduce the constitutional amendment, which he said would remove the shackles from his ability to rule. The original constitutional changes Rajpakaa had sought would have given him even greater powers, but these were watered down after the supreme court ruled they undermined the sovereignty of the people.
Human rights organisations allege that Rakapaksa has also overseen a similar campaign of harassment and oppression of activists, political opponents and journalists that characterised the presidency of his brother over a decade ago, as well as strengthening the power of the military. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the police announced that anyone criticising the government would be arrested.
|See “Conflict Risk Alert” Above|
|KYRGYZSTAN||Parliamentary elections were held in Kyrgyzstan on 4 October 2020. The results showed that pro-government parties had won a supermajority of seats. The election was subsequently annulled by the Central Election Commission during the 2020 Kyrgyzstan following violent protests.
During the elections, several parties were accused of buying votes. Several journalists also reported that they had been harassed or attacked. The costs associated with filing to run for the elections and campaigning were also criticized, with critics saying it was impossible for smaller parties without ties to an oligarch to afford.
|NICARAGUA||US-led international sanctions were stepped up on Friday, 6th November 2020, and targets corrupt finance officials and Ortega regime supporters – those sanctioned include Attorney General Ana Julia Guido De Romero. The office said she had formed a group of prosecutors who worked with the police “to fabricate cases against political prisoners and their families… So far 24 people close to the Ortega regime have been sanctioned for activities which include corruption, syphoning government funds, political and human rights abuses and drug-trafficking.
8th November The Nicaraguan regime has just expanded its repressive resources with the approval of a law against cybercrimes. Its most troubling characteristic is the criminalization of false information. Sandinista deputies formed an overwhelming majority of 70 votes in favour of the initiative against 16 opposing legislators and 4 abstentions.
The law provides from two to five years in prison for anyone who spreads fake news that causes “fear, anxiety or alarm in the population,” or that harms the honour, prestige and dignity of other people or endangers public order or “sovereign security.”
As often occurs in totalitarian regimes, the repressive objective of the legislation is disguised. With the cybercrime law, Nicaragua goes against the tide of the democratic world. The Ortega dictatorship seeks to entrench its absolute control by suppressing the courageous work of journalists and media outlets willing to risk their physical integrity and freedom to inform their fellow citizens.
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 November