Travel risk round-up: 1 August

Your risk round-up for the past week.
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Travel risk

United States: Governor Inslee Declared State of Emergency across Washington State in Response to Wildfires; Evacuation Orders in Place

According to local media reports, the Governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, has declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, 31 July, in response to the threat of wildfires. The declaration was made state-wide in order to guarantee resources are available for an immediate response to wildfires. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has reported a recent spike in wildfires across the state, attributing the increase to abnormally dry conditions and above-average temperatures throughout July. Mandatory evacuation orders are currently in place in parts of Wishram Heights, Dallesport, Maryhill, and Columbia River Gorge. Evacuations were also ordered earlier this week in Twenty Five Mile State Park on Lake Chelan.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members in Washington are advised to closely monitor local media outlets for the latest development on the fires. Any directives issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders, should be adhered to immediately. Members conducting overland travel in the area are advised to review their itineraries to ensure that their route is not affected by the fires or firefighting operations.

Brazil: Significant Increase in Shootings reported in Rio de Janeiro from March to June 2018

On Wednesday, 25 July, the Comissao Popular da Verdade (an organisation created by several local civic groups with the mission to monitor the military intervention in Rio de Janeiro city) released a paper indicating a 37% rise in shootings in the metropolitan area. The paper released especially points at the areas of Baixada Fluminense and Mesquita, where shootings have increased over 160% from February to June this year. Furthermore, the report also indicates a 9% increase in homicides in the city since the military took over law enforcement duties in the area in March this year.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Personnel with operations in Rio de Janeiro state are advised to maintain a heightened sense of situational awareness, avoid travel at night, and avoid ostentatious displays of wealth. Criminal activity, in which violence is common, is the primary risk to travellers in major Brazilian cities; as such, travellers should take measures to maintain a low profile, ensuring all movements in neighbourhoods with a high crime threat profile are minimised. Heed all directives by security forces.

Colombia: Reported Clashes between ELN and Military Forces near Playa Rica, El Tambo Municipality

Clashes between the military and gunmen suspected to be affiliated with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group have been reported on Sunday, 29 July March, near Playa Rica, El Tambo Municipality. At least one member of the security forces was killed, as well as two others injured during the clashes. Further information is awaited.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Travellers should be aware that ELN guerrillas continue to operate in various areas of Colombia and launch frequent attacks against security forces and government infrastructure. Those conducting travel outside of major cities in Colombia are advised to subject all journeys to a comprehensive localised threat assessment and liaise with local authorities to identify areas with active militant and security operations.

Netherlands: Travel Disruption Expected during Annual Amsterdam Pride Events, 28 July – 5 August

According to local news sources, significant travel disruption may be expected during the Amsterdam Pride event scheduled to take place between Saturday, 28 July and Sunday, 5 August. Among the many events due to occur is the Pride Walk on Saturday, 28 July, starting at 1100hrs (0900 UTC) at the Homomonument and ending at the Vondelpark. The annual canal Parade will take place on Saturday, 4 August, with around 80 boats involved. Previous events of this kind have been peaceful but a high turn-out could lead to transport disruptions and a large police presence.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Those within Amsterdam are advised to minimise non-essential travel in the vicinity of all protests and political gatherings due to the risk of exposure to potential crowd disturbances and opportunistic crime. Clients are further advised to anticipate overland travel disruption resulting from crowd control measures by police and congested public transport services throughout the entirety of the event.

Iraq: Iraqi Government Lifts Imposed Ban on Social Media

The Iraqi National Security Council lifted a ban on social media on Wednesday, 25 July, which had been imposed across Iraq and the Kurdistan Region following demonstrations in Iraq’s southern and central cities since 14 July. The Baghdad Chamber of Commerce has estimated that Iraqi trade has lost $1million USD per day as a result of the ban. On Tuesday, 24 July, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report calling on Iraqi authorities to ‘lift all internet restrictions, except where specific security concerns require such a response’.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members in Iraq should monitor media sources to keep updated of any future disruptions and alterations to online infrastructure.