Travel risk round-up: 18 April

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France: Fire at Notre-Dame in Paris Fully Extinguished; Continue to Avoid Area

According to regional media sources on Tuesday, 16 April, a fire that had been burning at Paris’ historic Notre-Dame cathedral for approximately 15 hours, and included nine hours of firefighting, has been fully extinguished. The fire, which is believed to have been started accidentally, caused the collapse of the famous landmarks’ spire and roof, and has been described by a number of internationally renowned figures, including French President Emmanuel Macron, as a ‘terrible tragedy’. Members in-country are reminded to continue to avoid the immediate area, as clear up operations continue, and structural surveys take place.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in nearby areas are advised to avoid the vicinity of the cathedral as the firefighting and clear up operations continue. Monitor local media outlets for the latest developments on the fire and heed any directives issued by local authorities.

Pakistan: Multiple Fatalities Reported following Attack on Passenger Bus in Balochistan Province

According to local media reports, 14 people have been killed after militant insurgents pulled them out of a passenger bus and shot them dead in Balochistan province on Thursday morning, 18 April. The incident happened on the Makran Coast highway in the Ormara area of Gwadar district. At least two people managed to flee from the gunmen. No group have claimed responsibility for the attack. Further information is awaited.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in Balochistan are advised to monitor local media sources for further updates on the incident and any associated security operations. Those in the area are advised to exercise a heightened level of vigilance given the persistent threat from terrorism and militant attacks, and immediately report any suspicious items or activity to security forces. Security measures should be continually reviewed and updated so as to remain commensurate with the local threat environment.

Portugal: 28 Confirmed Fatalities in Tourist Bus Crash near Canico, Madeira

According to local media sources on Thursday, 18 April, 28 people have been confirmed killed in a bus crash near the town of Canico, on the island of Madeira. Those killed on the bus were reportedly all German tourists, however, authorities say that there is a possibility that local residents could be among the casualties. The bus is believed to have been carrying 55 people. The injured have been transferred to the hospital in the island’s capital, Funchal. An investigation has been launched to explain how the driver lost control of the bus.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in the country should monitor local media sources for further information and avoid the vicinity of the incident. Motorists should anticipate traffic disruption in the immediate term and amend their itineraries. Further, it is advised that travellers research the conditions of overland travel and infrastructure before embarking on travel in foreign locations.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Scores of Fatalities Feared after Boat Capsizes on Lake Kivu

According to media reports, as many as 150 remain missing after a boat capsized on Lake Kivu in the later hours of Monday, 15 April. Emergency services have rescued 37 people so far and recovered three bodies. The vessel, which departed from the village of Kituku near the city of Goma on Lake Kivu’s northern shore, sank in South Kivu Province near the territory of Kalehe. Local reports indicate that the vessel was carrying passengers over capacity and was loaded with goods. Search and rescue operations are ongoing.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members undertaking maritime travel in DRC are advised to only use reputable operators and should ensure that the vessel has adequate safety measures in place, including life jackets and inflatable rafts. Travellers should monitor local media sources for further updates on the incident and associated search and rescue operations in the area.

United States: Authorities Declare State of Emergency in Several Mississippi Counties following Tornados

According to local media reports on Sunday, 14 April, authorities have declared a state of emergency in several counties in the state of Mississippi following a series of tornados. At least 17 counties are currently under the state of emergency with Monroe and Warren counties being the worst affected areas. Some 26,000 people remained without power and at least 28 roads have been rendered impassable by flooding. A curfew is also in place within Monroe County between 2000hrs (0100 UTC, 15 April) on Sunday and 0600hrs (1100 UTC) on Monday, 15 April. At least one person has been killed and 11 other others have been injured due to storm conditions across the state.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members should closely monitor local media sources for weather-related updates and heed all directives issued by local authorities, paying particular attention to shelter-in-place instructions in the event of further tornadoes.

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