Monthly 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 ~

As vaccine roll-out programmes continue to make progress around the world, and with the UK being at the forefront of vaccine uptake, life is almost back to normal within the UK, however there are many locations which are on the UK Governments Red and Amber List which require travellers to follow very specific rules. People who are fully vaccinated and have travelled to or through green list countries have a greater degree of freedom and are not required to self-isolate unless they have tested Positive for Covid. For detailed information of the countries/Territories which are on the Red, Amber and Green List and the rules which you must follow – Click Here

Speak to your Travel Management Company to find out which countries are allowing visitors to enter without restriction, which countries continue to impose restrictions and quarantines and those that will let you in if you have a valid Covid Vaccination/Health Certificate.

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

During the first 6-days of September, there have been 32 earthquakes reported with magnitudes ranging from 1.3 – 5.6 The Map below gives a visualisation of where the quakes occurred and the magnitude.

Yellow = 7 days ago, Orange = Past 48 Hours, Red = Past 24 Hours, Purple = today.
The bigger the circle – the larger the magnitude.

September 2021 - Earthquake Map

 

TONGA
5th September –
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 was recorded 113Kn southeast of of Nuku’alota, Tonga by the German Research Centre of Geosciences. It is reported that many people near the epicentre will have felt the quake and other than object falling of shelves and broken windows there have been no reports of casualties or significant damage to buildings of infrastructure.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
3rd September -
  A 5.8 magnitude earthquake was recorded off the coast of Sakhalin, a far eastern region of the Russian Federation. With few people living in proximity to the quake, there have been no reports of casualties or damage to infrastructure.

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
3rd, 5th & 6th September – This region was hit by two quakes on the 3rd September, the first quake measuring 5.6 and the second 5.7 and again on Sunday 5th September with the quake measuring 5.9; and Monday 6th September with a quake of 5.7. As the island chain is a primarily wildlife sanctuary with no permanent human population and are kept in pristine ecological conditions there has been no reported damage or casualties. The islands are home to two British Antartic Survey Bases.

CHILE
1st September
– an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 was recorded off the coast of northern Chile, to date there have been no reports of casualties and major damage to roads or infrastructure. No Tsunami alerts were issued.

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.

30th August – 6th September
HURRICANE LARRY
WEST ATLANTIC SHORES FROM CANADO TO THE BAHAMA’S & BERMUDA.
The National Hurricane Centre has warned that with maximum sustained winds near 125 miles per hour and "little change in strength forecast the next day or so," it was expected to remain no more than a Category 3 hurricane, Sunday 5th September. If further reported that Larry was still a "large and expanding" hurricane that's expected to cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions" along the Jersey Shore and certain points north around midweek. Large swells already have affected the Lesser Antilles and were expected to "spread to portions of the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and Bermuda on Monday and Tuesday. For right now, Larry is forecast to approach Bermuda over the next several days as a "large and powerful hurricane, bringing a risk of strong winds, heavy rainfall, and coastal flooding to the island by the middle of this week.

FLOODING, LANDSLIDES, MUDSLIDES

To date there have been no floods to report due to Hurricane Season or Monsoonal weather conditions, since late August 2021

FOREST FIRE DANGERS

Wildfires and forest fires have seen an up-tick this summer with wildfires in Siberia, the Central Russian Federation, California and parts of the mid-west USA.

According to official data, some 170 fires are currently burning across Russia, from the Kostroma region in the west to Magadan in the Far East. Nearly 100 of these fires are located in the republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in north-eastern Siberia, the country’s largest and coldest region — the largest of which is on track to become the largest single wildfire ever recorded in human history. Siberia's wildfires alone are now larger than the rest of the world's blazes combined.

In Angola, over 3000 people have been affected by wildfires which destroyed 18,185 ha, and in Zambia in fires which burned for 6-days from the 30th August to 4th September 10,944 ha were destroyed however there is no news of casualties or evacuations.

VOLCANOES

The beginning of September 2021, there has been no volcanic activity to report in any of the seismic zone. With Mt Etna, last reporting an eruption on 9th August.

Disease Alert

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
While the SARS-COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, a combination of vaccination programmes, social distancing and the wearing of masks has led to improvement in infection and death rates globally. Latest forecasts indicate that the world could see an increase in infection rates as we edge towards winter, however with increasing numbers of people being vaccinated, the death and hospitalisation rate are expected to rise a little, but in the main will hold steady for countries on the UK Government Green List – unfortunately the same can not be said for those countries which are on the red and amber lists.  For more information about countries on the Red and Amber list and for the travel rule associated with these lists Click Here

CHOLERA OUTBREAK: Nigeria | Cameroon | Ethiopia | Kenya | Tanzania| Zambia | Mozambique | India | Yemen | Burundi
DENGUE FEVER OUTBREAK: Honduras | Maldives | Thailand | Cambodia | Laos | Malaysia | Nepal | Vietnam | Sri Lanka | Bangladesh | Philippines
EBOLA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER OUTBREAK: Rwanda | South Sudan | Burundi | Uganda | South Africa | Democratic Republic of Congo
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

The COVID Crisis, with its inherent and ongoing lockdowns and the worldwide protests against the lockdowns, curfews and fines for those who are caught outside their homes during the curfews is adding to the unsettling landscape.

In addition, US foreign and domestic policy is adding increased risks and is adding to civil unrest, both in the USA, Ireland, and Europe, while in some parts of the world there are reports that food shortages, and the drive by some governments to press ahead with the World Economic Forums “Great Reset” is adding to pressures to the divisions which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

In a particularly disturbing report by Armstrong Economic, which predicts the USA has the potential to fall into all-out civil war between 2022 and 2024. Whether this forecast civil war will be carried out in a traditional sense of armed fighting or not remains to be seen – we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this as the USA is a popular destination for UK citizens, and has significant influence on geopolitics, albeit somewhat undermined since the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Civil Unrest Index as produced by Maplecroft remain largely unchanged, although the list of events which have occurred during the first few days of September 2021, would indicate a bit of a surge. The analysis of the data continues to suggest 75 countries worldwide will be particularly vulnerable to increased incidents of social unrest including some 34 European Countries.

Conflict Risk Alert

For the 4th month in a row, there has been an overall lull in global conflict, much of this can be attributed to the ongoing Covid pandemic and the subsequent restrictions in travel, lockdowns and curfews. However there have been escalations in tensions which could very easily result in Conflict (See Deteriorating Situations below) – for now however there are no new conflicts to report on.

Deteriorating situations

Covid-19 has had a massive effect on countries across the world. Over the past 18-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/developing 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 protestors in some regions, which only served to inflame the already volatile situations.

With travel restrictions slowly easing – and variations on what additional proof of COVID vaccination travellers may have to provide, before they travel, it continues to be unlikely that you will be able to travel to the world’s conflict zones, which in turn will cause additional problems and unrest in these countries as humanitarian aid dries up.

When the ability to travel to countries on the cusp of 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 use armoured vehicles for land based transportation.

AFGHANISTAN With the withdrawal of US and Allied forces from Afghanistan on the 31st August 2021, after the Biden administration declared that the war in Afghanistan was over, the Taliban took control of the country on 15th August and reports from several news agencies indicate that the Afghan people launched protests over Women’s Rights and Free Speech, with many people fearful that the Taliban will return to their old ways of ruling.

The Taliban on Monday (6 September 2021) claimed to have captured Panjshir Valley, stronghold of the anti-Taliban resistance movement headed by Ahmad Massoud and former Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh. The National Resistance Front (NRF) disputed the Taliban’s claims and vowed to continue fighting.

On Tuesday 7th September, in Herat, hundreds marched, unfurling banners, and waving the Afghan flag – printed in the vertical tricolours of black, red and green with the national emblem overlaid in white – with some chanting “freedom”. Later, two bodies were brought to the city’s central hospital from the site of the protest, a doctor in Herat told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. “They all have bullet wounds,” he said. In response to the protests that Taliban issued warnings to would-be protestor not to take to the streets and told journalists not to cover any demonstration. The Taliban added that it would not stand for any resistance to its rule.

In other reports witnesses have stated that since the Taliban retook the country on the 15th August 2021, women have been beaten and tortured and people have and are being executed.

LEBANON The EU and others are deeply concerned about the rapidly deteriorating situation in Lebanon amid a 2-year financial melt-down, and months of fuel shortages which have paralysed the country and sparked chaos and numerous security incidents. Part of this problem has been caused by political inertia and a failure by Lebanese decision makers in agreeing on the formation of a new government. This current crisis has led to one of the sharpest depressions of modern times, with depositors being lock out of their bank accounts and a depreciation in currency by some 90%. Added to which the Central bank’s decision to cut subsidies has led to even more hardship for the Lebanese people, sparking pockets of violent unrest.
TUNISIA Often celebrated as the Arab Spring’s so-called success model, Tunisia is facing its biggest political crisis since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy. With the Tunisian parliament suspended since the 26th July 2021, and the removal of the Prime Minister, by President Kais Saied, in what many have said was a coup, the country has been in crisis for 6-weeks.  On Friday, (3rd September 2021) Tunisia’s powerful UGTT union and two political parties rejected an invitation to discuss the political crisis with a US congressional delegation visiting Tunisia, saying they refuse any foreign interference in local crisis.

 

President Saied assumed executive authority in a sudden intervention that his Islamist opponents have labelled a coup but that he said was necessary to save the country from collapse. Last week, the exceptional measures were indefinitely extended.

The president’s actions appear to have widespread support after years of economic stagnation and political paralysis.

However, President Saied’s delay in appointing a new government or announcing his longer-term plans has caused jitters among some Tunisians fearing a lack of direction in the face of major economic challenges or even a return to autocracy.

 

All in all it would appear that Tunisia is on the cusp of an economic disaster, with fears that this will trigger major unrest.

 

BURKINA FASSO Islamic jihadist insurgency in Burkina Fasso has led to numerous deaths of civilians and security forces in recent months – In one of the more recent attacks on August 20th, 80 people were killed when jihadists attacked a convoy of which 60 were civilians. In this latest attack in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, militias are known to have links to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State groups. The activities of these jihadist groups also endangers Niger and Mali across the border, with security situation in the region being very fragile.

 

SOUTH SUDAN Amnesty International have reported that the South Sudanese authorities have arrested civil society activists and a politician and closed a radio station and an academic think-tank, signalling a new wave of repression in response to calls for peaceful protests.

The People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) – a broad-based coalition of activists, academics, lawyers and former government officials – has denounced what it termed “a bankrupt political system that has become so dangerous and has subjected our people to immense suffering”.

Meanwhile on Wednesday (7th September 2021) The United Nations Mission in South Sudan is appealing to national and local leaders to resolve tensions in Tambura and the wider Western Equatorial region after a fresh outbreak of fighting, where there were reports of sporadic shooting between groups in Tambura, endangering the lives of civilians, creating the risk of further displacement, and increasing the humanitarian crisis. The latest incident follows rising tension and violence clashes the weekend and past few months.

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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