Travel risk round-up: 8 August

Your weekly travel risk round-up by Drum Cussac.
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Travel risk round up 8 Aug

Switzerland: Overland Disruption Expected for Geneva Festival Firework, 11 August

Travellers in Geneva should anticipate heavy overland disruption for the Geneva Festival Firework scheduled for Saturday, 11 August at 2200hrs (2000 UTC). The Mont Blanc Bridge as well Quai du Mont-Blanc and Quai Gustave-Ador will be completely closed to vehicular traffic resulting in heavy traffic disruption in the city centre. Public transportation will not run as usual on that date; tram and buses services will be shut down or diverted. Additionally, security will be heightened around the Geneva bay with extra police units deployed as the risk of opportunistic crime will seriously increase.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members are advised to remain alert to security threats, particularly in large crowds and should report any suspicious behaviour or activity to security personnel immediately. Monitor local media for the latest information and adhere to any advice from local authorities. Overland travel may face significant delays in urban centres due to the large crowds and associated road closures and alternative routes or modes of transport should be considered.

Rwanda: Ebola Screening Measures Introduced at Kigali Airport and Border Areas

Government officials stated on Saturday, 4 August, that there will be mandatory Ebola screening for all travellers entering the country. The purpose of the testing is to ensure that any Ebola cases can be detected and isolated. The screening processes are set up at the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda, as well as Kigali International Airport. Any person with a fever above 37.5 degrees will be isolated in the nearest health facility for further check-ups. Ebola is a highly infectious and potentially lethal haemorrhagic fever illness. The virus is transmitted through contact with infected blood, bodily fluids, and handling or washing of infected corpses or through contact with objects that have been in contact with infected secretions.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members travelling to the region should remain apprised of Ebola-related developments as a precautionary measure. Travellers to the region should continue to follow advice from health officials. Travellers should be aware that additional screening measures, which were implemented in response to the initial outbreak, may still be in place at international ports of neighbouring countries.

Indonesia: Strong Earthquake Reported in Northern Lombok; Tsunami Alert Issued

According to an alert released by the Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) on Sunday, 5 August at 1846 hrs (1146 UTC), a large earthquake has occurred near to the northern tip of Lombok Island. The earthquake reportedly had a magnitude of at least 6.8, and a depth of 15km. A tsunami warning has been issued for coastlines on the Java and Flores Seas. Major shaking was reportedly felt as far away as Bali. Further information is awaited.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members in the area should remain well clear of coastal areas and travel to higher ground where possible. They should also be mindful of potential aftershocks in the medium term and are advised to monitor local media sources to remain apprised of any earthquake-related developments in their particular area of operations, particularly tsunami warnings. Members are further advised to remain alert to any emergency directives issued by authorities, including evacuation orders.

India: State-wide Maratha Demonstrations Planned for Maharashtra State on 9 August

According to local media sources on Saturday, 4 August, members of the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MKM) organization will stage demonstrations throughout Maharashtra state on Thursday, 9 August. The biggest rally is expected to take place in the capital city of Mumbai. The protesters are demanding a higher quota of jobs and education placements for their community. Earlier demonstrations on 25 July and 30 July turned violent, causing police to use tear gas and utilize force to disperse the crowds. Due to this, clashes between security forces and protesters are likely during the demonstrations on 9 August.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members in Maharashtra state should avoid the vicinity of any protests or large political gatherings in order to lessen the chances of being affected by incidental violence and subsequent police operations. Members should monitor local media sources for any further information.

Zimbabwe: Armed Forces Disperse Rioters in Post-Election Day; Several Fatalities Reported

On Wednesday, 31 July, as early results showed Zanu-PF securing two-thirds of the parliament and presidential results were delayed, crowds of protesters from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change rioted in central Harare stirred by the party presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa. Military troops were deployed throughout Harare to protect public and private property from angry rioters. Sources indicate that three people were killed and scores injured during the violent crackdown. Although presidential results have not yet been released the situation is reportedly under control. The release of final results can still take several days according to electoral law.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members in Zimbabwe should be mindful of the current heightened political tensions and remain vigilant in urban centres. Travellers should remain well clear of the vicinity of all political demonstrations due to the risk of exposure to crowd violence and heavy-handed security response operations. Members should monitor local media for updates on the election results and anticipate further unrest following announcements.