Travel risk round-up: 24 October

Your risk round-up for the past week.

High
Mexico: Update: Thousands Evacuated from Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa States in Advance of Hurricane Willa

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from coastal areas of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states in advance of Hurricane Willa, which is expected to make landfall just south of the city of Mazatlan on the afternoon of Tuesday, 23 October. The storm is currently a category 4 with sustained winds of 140 mph (225 km/h), as well as a dangerous storm surge, 6-12 inches of rain (152-305 mm) and potentially up to 18 inches (457 mm) in localised areas. The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) expects the storm to weaken once it hits the coast, but it will continue to bring heavy rainfall to central and northeastern areas of the country, before moving up the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in the aforementioned states are advised to pay close attention to local media sources for weather-related updates. Members should maintain a heightened level of situational awareness, review contingency plans and heed any directives issued by local authorities, including evacuations. Both overland and air journeys should be reviewed to ensure that they are not affected by the weather system and motorists should take extra caution due to hazardous driving conditions. Members should avoid all coastal and maritime activities where possible in the coming days.


Moderate
Nigeria: Alleged Boko Haram Militants Carry Out Fatal Attack on Mifah, near Chibok, Borno State

An attack carried out by suspected Boko Haram militants has left two people dead in Mifah, near the town of Chibok, in Borno State. The attack reportedly occurred late on Monday, 22 October, with the militants looting the village and setting it on fire. Six further villagers were injured in the attack, which forced residents to flee.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Those with operationally critical requirements in the Borno State and the wider northeast region should conduct a thorough localised threat assessment and ensure that all travel is undertaken in coordination with local security forces and a trusted private security provider. Security and crisis management procedures should be continually reviewed and updated so as to remain commensurate with the local threat environment.


Moderate
China: Workers Trapped as Coal Mine Tunnel Collapses in Yuncheng district, Eastern Shandong Province

According to local media sources on Sunday, 21 October, at least 22 miners remain trapped after a rock burst destroyed part of a mining tunnel. More than 300 people were reportedly originally trapped, however, all but 22 were successfully rescued during rescue operations that are still on-going. A rescue team of 140 emergency workers have been dispatched to this site. Further to the mine, the rock burst also caused damage to several roadways within the mining complex.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Those in Eastern Shandong province should avoid the vicinity of the incident in order to lessen the chances of inhaling harmful smoke and coal dust. Members should monitor local media sources for further information, and heed any directives given by the authorities.


Moderate
France: Activists to Protest President Trump Visit to France on Paris’ Place de la Republique on 11 November; Avoid the Area

Left-leaning activists will gather Place de la Republique on Sunday, 11 November, to protest against the visit of President Donald Trump to Paris for the celebrations of the Allies’ victory in the First World War. Thousands are expected to attend the gathering that will be held from 1400hrs to 1700hrs (1300 to 1600 UTC). Although the rally is organised by an activist group named Paris Against Trump, members of far-left activists group such as Pole of Communist Revival in France (PRCF) and Action Antifasciste Paris-Banlieue (AAPB) are likely to join the crowd. The AAPB activists group has been previously involved in violent clashes with security forces.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members are advised to remain clear of all crowds and political demonstrations in order to limit the risk of exposure to unruly crowd behaviour, opportunistic crime, and police crowd control operations. Members should follow local media outlets to stay informed of further protests concerning this issue.


High
Syria: Dozens of Civilians Killed and Mosque Hit in Coalition Air Strikes in Deir Ez-Zor

According to local media reports, U.S.-led coalition aircraft struck a mosque in Deir ez-Zor’s Al-Susah district during air strikes on Friday, 19 October. Although no casualties were reported as a result of that strike, local sources have reported that in the last two days alone 43 civilians have been killed in Deir ez-Zor province by repeated coalition air strikes. The Kurdish military group YPG/PKK, with U.S. and French support, have launched an offensive against the IS stronghold in Dier ez-Zor’s city of Hajin, where an estimated 1,000 of the 2,500 Daesh militants are reportedly located. Some villages have also been targeted, with 18 civilians reportedly being killed late Thursday, 18 October in a strike on the village of Sousa.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Given the extreme operational security risk in Syria due to the ongoing conflict, members are advised to reconsider all travel to the country. Any operationally-critical travel should only be undertaken with the highest level of security protocols in place, and any movement outside of secure compounds should utilise a reputable security provider. Members in Syria are advised to regularly review and update crisis management and security procedures to ensure that they remain commensurate with the localised threat environment.