Travel risk round-up: 15 March

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Mozambique: Fatalities Reported as Cyclone IDAI-19 Continues to Strengthen

According to regional media reports on Tuesday, 12 March, at least ten people have been killed by flooding in Tete and Zambezia province as Cyclone IDAI-19 continues to strengthen. At least 62,000 others have also been affected by flooding in the two aforementioned provinces, as well as parts of northern Niassa province. IDAI-19 is currently sustaining winds of 100kmh (62mph) and is projected to move towards the provinces of Sofala and Zambezia provinces and is currently projected to make landfall between Thursday, 14 March, and Friday, 15 March at the strength of category 3 after reaching category 4 whilst moving through the Mozambique Channel. The UN has stated that it anticipates that flooding and heavy rains resulting from the cyclone will affect at least 120,000 people. Alerts have been issued by authorities for the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Manica, Nampula, Niassa, Sofala, Tetet and Zambezia.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members are advised to monitor local media sources for weather-related updates and to remain apprised of disruption and warnings in their particular area of operations. Travellers should familiarise themselves with local emergency protocols and heed any directives issued by local authorities. Minimise time spent in low-lying flood-prone areas, valleys and unstable slopes susceptible to flash floods and landslides and coastal regions during the passing of the storm system.

New Zealand: Multiple Fatalities and Arrests following Shootings at Mosques in Christchurch; Security Operations Ongoing

According to local media reports on Friday, 15 March, at least 40 people have been killed and over 20 others have been seriously injured following shootings at the Masjid Al Noor Mosque at Hagley Park and the Linwood Masjid Mosque in Linwood, Christchurch. Reports indicate that at least one gunman targeted worshippers at the Al Noor Mosque as they conducted prayers and police reported a second attack at the Linwood Mosque, however the nature of the second attack is yet to be confirmed. At least four people have been detained by police in connection with the attacks, however, police have stated that other assailants may be at large. Police have stated that a number of explosive devices were attached to vehicles in the area and these have been disarmed by security forces. A number of schools within Christchurch in addition to Christchurch Hospital and Christchurch City Council were also subject to a lockdown as security operations continue and although the lockdown on schools has been lifted, it is unclear if other restrictions have also been ended. Localised road closures have also been enforced by police. The incident has been described by the Prime Minister of the country as a terrorist incident and authorities have also announced that the national security threat level has been raised from low to high.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Those in Christchurch are advised to remain clear of the affected area and anticipate armed police presence in the vicinity of the incidents. Closely monitor local media sources for further updates in order to remain apprised of any developments. Report any suspicious persons, items or police immediately.

Nigeria: Hundreds of Abducted Persons Rescued during Month-Long Operations in Zamfara State

According to international media sources, Nigerian military forces have rescued 760 persons during a month-long operation in Zamfara state which concluded on Monday, 11 March. At least 55 armed men were killed during gunfights with troops and another 24 militants have been arrested by soldiers across the Shinkafi, Anka, and Zurmi Local Government areas of the state. Rural areas in Zamfara state have been prone to attacks by criminal gangs, cattle rustlers and kidnappers, with at least two major attacks reported in December, leaving scores of people dead.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members with operationally critical requirements in Zamfara state 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.

Pakistan: Fatalities following Bombing of Pipeline in Dera Bugti, Balochistan

According to local media sources, at least four people were killed and two others were injured after the bombing of a pipeline near the Sui gas field in Dera Bugti, Balochistan. The Baloch Liberation Tigers (BLT) has stated that they are behind the attack. Further information is awaited.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in the aforementioned area should remain well clear of the vicinity of the explosion and comply with directives issued by security forces. Members in the area should anticipate a robust police presence and security road controls. Monitor local media for further updates on the incident.

Jamaica: Gang Leader Killed during Shootout with Police in St James Parish

According to media reports, the reputed leader of the Dean’s Lane gang was fatally shot during an encounter with the police in St James on Tuesday, 12 March. Another gang member was also killed during the shootout, which occurred in the Belmont community. The gang leader is reportedly suspected of numerous crimes such as robberies, wounding with intent, shootings and murders in St James. Further information regarding the incident is awaited.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members operating in St James Parish are advised to exercise a heightened sense of vigilance and remain alert to any directives issued by authorities. Personnel are further advised to minimise time spent in areas associated with high criminal activity and areas where security operations are ongoing.

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