Monthly Travel Risk Summary Report

September 2020 – Travel Risk Summary Report

Welcome to September,

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 SEPTEMBER ~

Coronavirus (aka Covid-19) has continued to keep the world in varying levels of lockdown, on the whole, lockdown measures are easing, and the travel industry, which has been slowly returning to a new normal with many carriers resuming service, with COVID-19 measures in place – some of which include a reduced number of passengers on planes, and the issuing of COVID-19 sanitisation kits to passengers, as they board. Another measure in place is COVID-19 testing before boarding, and on arrival, and where COVID-19 testing is not widely available quarantines have been put in place. Please check with your Travel Management Company or better still utilise the services of a Travel Management Company, before travelling internationally!

The UK government continues to advise travellers that if they must travel – that travel is allowed for essential journey’s only!

The latest news on the Coronavirus can be found here:

  1. Government Travel Advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
  2. UK Government – Coronavirus Advice: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
  3.  NHS Coronavirus Advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Weather Hazards & Natural Disasters

EARTHQUAKES

In the first 7-days of September, eight earthquakes have been recorded.

  •  4th September 2020
    The border region between Panama and Costa Rica.
    A quake registering 5.8, on the Richter Scale struck, Panama’s border region with Costa Rica. There have been no reports of casualties or damage to buildings and/or infrastructure, and no Tsunami Alert.
  • 6th September 2020
    An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia`s North Sulawesi province, but did not trigger a tsunami, the country`s meteorology and geophysics agency said. There have been no reports of casualties or damage to buildings and infrastructure.
  • 6th September 2020
    A 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook northern Chile, with no reported casualties or material damage. The earthquake did not meet the necessary conditions to generate a tsunami off the coast of Chile.
  • 6th September 2020
    A 6.9 oceanic quake struck the Central Mid-Atlantic ridge – thankfully no Tsunami warnings were issues due to the distance from populated landmasses to the east and west of the quake epicentre.
  • 6th September 2020
    An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck Mindanao, the Philippines. According to a statement from the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the quake occurred 82 kilometres southeast of Digos City, Philippines. The quake did not pose a tsunami threat to Malaysia, it said.
  • 7th September 2020
    Three earthquakes of magnitude between 5 and 6.2 shook the sea earlier today in the central area of ​​the Vanuatu archipelago, in the South Pacific, without a tsunami warning having been issued for the moment. So far, there has been no serious damage after the earthquake, the last in the series of three quakes took place at 17:12 local time (06:12 GMT).

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.

  • 1st – 4th September –  Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
    NANA-20 – Category 1 Tropical Cyclone made landfall in the Dangriga on the 3rd September, bringing with it sustained strong winds of 120 Km/ph, heavy rains and storm surge. Local weather centres issued flash-flooding, and landslide warnings, becoming more likely for parts of Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, parts of the Yucatan peninsula, and southern Mexico. Classes as a Hurricane in Jamaica, Tropical Cyclone Nana-20 is the 7th hurricane in the region for the 2020 season.
  • 5th September 2020 – Canada
    Tropical Cyclone Omar, formed in the mid-Atlantic basin around the 1st September and dissipated before making landfall, then seems to have picked up where it has left off – at the moment the cyclone has been downgraded to a Tropical Depression and is being closely monitored, as it heads westwards, away from Canada and the North-Eastern USA.
  • 31 August – 7th September 2020 – Republic of Korea, Japan, Democratic Republic of Korea, China,
    Tropical Cyclone HAISHEN-20
    (Typhoon)– Category 1
    The violent Typhoon Haishen arrived earlier today (local-time in South Korea, after scouring southwestern Japan where there are reports of two dead, twenty injured and four people missing in a landslide. The tropical cyclone mainly affected the eastern half of South Korea and was expected to reach North Korea overnight between 7th and 8th September, (local time) according to the South Korean meteorological agency. The force of its gusts of wind slowed down but remained very high, with speeds of 180 Km /p h, causing the cancellation of several hundred flights in South Korea.In Japan, More than half a million Japanese households were deprived of electricity Monday morning, which raised fears of the risk of heatstroke due to lack of air conditioning, and telecom networks were disrupted in the region. The arrival of the cyclone/typhoon put Kyushu on high alert this weekend, greatly disrupting air and rail traffic and shutting down factories. At the height of the storm, more than 7 million people had been affected by evacuation recommendations, but not mandatory instructions. But authorities had also advised to avoid overloading evacuation centres due to the coronavirus, which has prompted many residents to stay overnight in local hotels.

    Typhoon season is currently in full swing in Japan. Haishen is the second major tropical cyclone to hit the Japanese archipelago and then the Korean peninsula in just a few days. In total it is estimated that 29.9 million people will be affected by this Cyclone/Typhoon, in the coming week.

  • 7th September 2020 – Currently Mid-Atlantic
    Tropical Storm Seventeen is currently developing in the mid-Atlantic and is being closely monitored, At the moment the sustained recorded wind speeds are around 98Km/ph, and is tracking eastward towards the north-west coast of Africa, and heading toward Senegal.
  • 7th September 2020 – Mexico
    JULIO-20
    – Stating as a tropical depression formed in the central portion of the Atlantic Ocean, and forecasters expect it to form into a tropical storm 7th September.

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.

  • 7th September 2020
    Authorities in Sudan have declared a national state of emergency for three months and designated the country a natural disaster zone after flooding that has killed dozens of people. In addition to 99 deaths, floods this year have injured 46 people, inflicted damage on more than half a million people and caused the total and partial collapse of more than 100,000 homes. This isn’t the first time the Nile has flooded its banks, but those affected say it’s the worst they’ve ever seen. At least half a million people have been forced out of their homes as a result of the major rise in the Nile’s water levels.

VOLCANOES

There has been no recorded Volcanic activity, since the 28th of August 2020

DROUGHTS

No droughts to report for some months, due to the hurricane, Cyclone and Typhoon seasons.

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.

In the UK The number of daily coronavirus cases has jumped by 2,988, according to government figures. The increase, up from 1,813 new cases on Saturday,  is the biggest 24-hour spike since 23 May, when the UK was in lockdown. Government data showed that the number of fatalities had remained at a low level, with two reported deaths recorded on Sunday within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. It is unclear what has caused the surge in cases, which comes days after schools reopened across England and a number of areas were added to the government’s Covid-19 watchlist.

The European Union is warning governments not to reduce the 14-day quarantine for people infected with Covid-19 as some develop the infection even after two weeks, the head of the bloc’s health agency said, signalling a new surge in cases in Europe.

In the USA – new coronavirus infections hit record highs in six U.S. states on Tuesday of last week, marking a rising tide of cases for a second consecutive week as most states moved forward with reopening their economies.

India’s COVID tally on Sunday 6th September was marked with a single-day spike of 90,633 new cases and 1,065 deaths in the past 24 hours. The total case tally currently stands at 410,130,812 including 8,620,320 active cases, 31,800,866 cured/discharged/migrated and 70,626 deaths.

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
BUBONIC/PNEUMONIC PLAGUE

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 America

Bubonic 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.

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. Minneapolis continues to be one of the hardest-hit cities in the USA, however, there have been sporadic incidents of violent protests and demonstrations across the USA for some months. Protests and demonstrations are likely to continue throughout the country during the pre-election campaigning season.
EUROPE There has been no marked change in the potentials for Civil Unrest across Europe – as reported in July “Politicians are about to be confronted with the harsh reality of their insane lockdowns in Europe. (Armstrong Economics)

Covid-19, shrinking economics, unemployment, suspension of civil and human rights during the pandemic and many other factors are feeding into increasing the incidence of violent civil unrest – this situation is likely to get worse and become more commonplace in the developed countries of the West, while the triggers in the developing world and regions with totalitarian regimes will also continue to face varying levels of civil unrest for similar reasons to the developed world, with the added component of seeking basic civil and human rights.

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

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!

CÔTE D’IVOIRE Tensions are high in the country after President Alassane Ouattara, the opposition candidate and eventual victor in the 2010 contest, recently announced he would stand again for a controversial third term in this year’s election, scheduled for Oct. 31 2020. Just five months ago, he had announced his imminent retirement, pledging to “transfer power to a new generation.” But the 78-year-old Ouattara reversed course after Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who was to be the presidential candidate for the ruling Rally of Republicans party, died of a heart attack last month. Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets to protest Outtara’s decision last week, sparking violent clashes with security forces and Ouattara’s supporters in some parts of the country that left at least four people dead. Around 58 protesters were arrested, 45 of them in Abidjan, according to local media. In some cases, police reportedly allowed men armed with clubs and machetes to attack demonstrators.
GUINEA Guinea’s veteran opposition leader Cellou Delein Diallo accepted the nomination on Sunday 6th September of his UFDG party to challenge President Alpha Conde, who is seeking a 3rd term in the 18th October elections despite protests from the opposition.

Guinea’s opposition vowed Tuesday (1st September 2020) to return to the streets after the party of President Alpha Conde confirmed the octogenarian will seek a third term in office, a prospect that already sparked deadly mass protests.

 UKRAINE Amid increased civilian deaths and planned separatist elections in Eastern Ukraine, in November 2020, renewing peace talks is key to end the fighting.

Civilian casualties are again on the rise as separatist elections are planned outside of the long-stalled Minsk agreements in eastern Ukraine.

With little progress in talks to end the fighting, Ms. DiCarlo (UN representative) said the conflict, now in its fifth year, remained explosive, with ceasefire violations increasing following a recent lull, resulting in over 20 civilian casualties.  She called on the parties to immediately and strictly observe their commitments, cease fighting, ensure the safety of civilians and humanitarian workers, withdraw heavy weapons and protect civilian infrastructure. During this forgotten conflict, millions of men, women and children continue to face dire humanitarian consequences eastern Ukraine.  More than 3,000 civilians have been killed and up to 9,000 injured since the conflict began in 2014, affecting the highest proportion of elderly people in the world, running at more than 30 per cent.

IRAN Tensions are once again rising between Iran and the USA and its allies in the region as Iran continues to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium in violation of limitations set in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers but has begun providing access to sites where the country was suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog agency said on Friday (4th September 2020). Meanwhile, on Thursday 3rd September, the United States on imposed sanctions on 11 foreign companies, accusing them of helping to facilitate Iran’s export of petroleum, petroleum products and petrochemicals in violation of American sanctions.

Deteriorating situations

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.

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 A coup in Mali, West Africa, on the 19th August, could have ramifications far beyond its borders, threatening to further destabilize across the region and jeopardizing counter-insurgency efforts led by France and the United States.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation on state television, hours after he and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested by mutinous soldiers.

The coup is the latest upheaval in a cycle of turmoil lasting almost a decade and follows months of mass anti-government protests and a worsening insurgency from Islamist militants north of the capital, Bamako.

Mali shares borders with Burkina Faso and Niger, and all three countries have struggled with the growing presence of Islamist groups.

MOZAMBIQUE Over the past 3-weeks, there has been a recent rise in violence and fighting leading to concerns of increased attacks by armed groups could spill over into neighbouring countries. Also over the past 3-weeks, Government forces in Mozambique are fighting to regain control of a remote area in the north. Soldiers are trying to push back ISIL-linked fighters in Cabo Delgado province, a resource-rich region that has faced years of conflict. The fighters have taken control of the port of Mocimboa da Praia, near offshore gas projects worth $60bn, while thousands of civilians flee the violence. The current view based on recent events would suggest that the violence is likely to escalate, with reports of human rights abuses on both sides.
CÔTE D’IVOIRE See Conflict Risk above.

 EASTERN EUROPE

BELERUS Tens of thousands of people marched through Minsk on Sunday calling on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to step down in mass demonstrations that showed no sign of abating nearly a month after an election his opponents say was rigged.

Columns of protesters defied a government warning not to march, waving red-and-white opposition flags and shouting “go away” and “you’re a rat”.

Protests also took place in major cities throughout Belarus, said interior ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova. Crowd sizes for those protests were not immediately reported, but Ales Bialiatski, head of the Viasna human rights organisation, said the demonstration in Minsk attracted more than 100,000 people.

“This sea of people cannot be stopped by military equipment, water cannons, propaganda and arrests. Most Belarusians want a peaceful change of power and we will not get tired of demanding this,” said Maria Kolesnikova, a leader of the Coordination Council set up by the opposition to try to arrange a dialogue with the 66-year-old Lukashenko about a transition of power, last week.

Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova has been abducted by unidentified people in central Minsk, according to the Belarusian Tut. By media outlet, citing a witness. This development happened today (7th September) hours after security forces arrested 633 protesters following Sunday’s mass rally.

MIDDLE EAST

LEBANON Rescue workers digging through the rubble of a Beirut building for the third day have said there is no longer hope of finding someone alive more than a month after a huge port explosion shattered Lebanon’s capital.

On a more positive note, leaders of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and the Palestinian Hamas group met to discuss diplomatic normalisation between Israel and Arab countries, the movement said. However, it is important to note, that after 30+ years of talks and agreements between Arab/Islamic factions in the Middle West and Israel, regular tit-for-tat bombings continue.

SOUTH AMERICA

BOLIVIA The Electoral Court decided in July to postpone, the planned September elections until Oct. 18 due to the spread of the coronavirus. In recent weeks, thousands of people including supporters of unseated former leftist leader Evo Morales have taken part in demonstrations and blocked roads around the country to demand that the polls take place as originally planned on Sept. 6.

Bolivia’s government has ordered police and military onto the streets to protect key installations and the transport of medical supplies after more than 30 COVID patients died during the protests due to lack of oxygen.

COLUMBIA The Nariño province in southwest Colombia suffered its third massacre in a month, the province’s top security official said Saturday (5th September 2020).

According to Nariño’s Government Secretary Francisco Ceron, four people were found shot dead in Buesaco, a locality in the generally calm northeast of the province.

The massacre followed within a month of massacres in the towns of Samaniego and Tumaco.

The recent surge in massacres in Colombia has hit Nariño, where at least a dozen illegal armed groups are vying for control over the state-abandoned countryside and drug trafficking routes, particularly hard.
This is set against the backdrops of the resurgence of the Medellin Cartel, which according to some reports coming out of Columbia, never really went away.


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 September.

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