Travel risk round-up: 21 November

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France: Further Yellow Vest Protests Cause Disruption Nationwide; Mass Demonstration Planned 24 November

According to local media sources, further “yellow vest” protests are expected to continue in multiple locations across the country on Tuesday, 20 November. The demonstrations being held are in response to a hike in fuel prices linked to government environmental policies. Around 20,000 people turned out on Monday, 19 November, to block oil depots, roads and gas stations nationwide. Organisers are calling for further mass demonstrations to take place on Saturday, 24 November, if President Emmanuel Macron’s government does not agree to remove the taxes that are expected to push fuel prices even higher in the upcoming years. Overland travel disruption is to be expected, as well as a heightened security presence.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members should avoid the vicinity of any political gatherings to avoid the vicinity of any political gatherings in order to mitigate against unruly crowd behaviour and police crowd control measures. Traffic disruption is anticipated in the immediate term and itineraries should be adjusted accordingly. Members should monitor local media sources for further information.

Philippines: Weather Authorities Issue Alert due to Tropical Depression Samuel

Local media sources on Monday, 19 November, report that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has updated the number of areas under a Signal No. 1 alert due to Tropical Depression Samuel. The alert is currently active for the following 18 areas: Masbate, Samar, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Misamis Oriental and Camiguin. As of the 1600hrs (0800 UTC) alert, Samuel was 505km (314mi) east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, with maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h (35mph) near the centre with gusts of up to 65km/h (40mph). Moderate to heavy rains, which may trigger flooding and landslides are expected over the Caraga, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas regions, and the provinces of Negros Occidental, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Camiguin. PAGASA has advised fishermen and those with small seacraft not to venture over the areas under Signal No. 1 and the eastern seaboards of Mindanao.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Those affected by cyclone warnings should monitor local media sources for any further updates on the storm system and heed any directives issued by the authorities. Minimise time spent in low-lying flood-prone areas and unstable slopes susceptible to landslides. Motorists should exercise extreme caution due to likely hazardous driving conditions caused by surface water, debris and landslides. Avoid all nautical and coastal activities were possible during the passing of the storm system.

Palestinian Territories: Dozens Injured during Great March of Return Protests in Gaza

According to local media sources, at least 40 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during protests held for the 34th consecutive Friday under the banner ‘The Great March of Return’ on 16 November on the Gaza-Israeli border. Live fire was reportedly aimed at protesters after they pelted Israeli Defence Force (IDF) troops with stones. Since the protests were launched on 30 March, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least 220 Palestinians have been killed and 24,000 injured. The protests continued unabated despite after a ceasefire was signed this week between Hamas, the de facto governing authority in Gaza, and the Israeli administration after escalating cross-border violence on Tuesday, 13 November.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to remain extremely vigilant amid the heightened tensions and ongoing unrest, immediately reporting any suspicious activity to authorities. Members are advised to minimise time spent near the border due to the threat of exposure to cross-border attacks and violent protests, especially on Fridays. Members should seek to vacate the area immediately if a planned or spontaneous protest occurs in their area of operations.

United States: Heavy Rainfall Brings Risk of Flash Floods and Mudslides in Paradise, California; Travel Disruption Expected

According to the National Weather Service, heavy rainfall, forecasted to fall on Wednesday, 21 November, could lead to flash floods and mudslides in Paradise, California, and surrounding areas. The rainfall is predicted to fall in the area where at least 77 people have been killed in the wildfires that have been raging for nearly two weeks. The rain is expected to continue until Friday, 23 November. Widespread travel disruption may also occur.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members should anticipate potential travel-related disruption and risks arising from heavy rains, possible flash floods and mudslides. Monitor local news for updates on the situation and plan accordingly. Maintain extra vigilance when travelling on roads and heed any directives given by the authorities.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Multiple UN Peacekeepers Killed during Operation Against ADF Base in Kididiwe, North Kivu

Seven United Nations peacekeepers were killed during an operation against an Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) base in Kididiwe, near Beni, according to a statement issued by the United Nations on Thursday, 15 November. The offensive was reportedly carried out in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and also resulted in the deaths of a number of Congolese personnel. Ten further peacekeepers were wounded and another is reportedly missing. The peacekeepers were made up of Malawian and Tanzanian troops, and the casualties representing the worst losses for the peacekeepers in almost a year. Kididiwe is reportedly an ADF stronghold, and sources suggest it has been used as a base from which to launch attacks on the suburbs of Beni. The operation to take the town was reportedly successful, but clashes are likely to be ongoing in the vicinity.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Due to the escalating violence around Beni and other parts of North Kivu province, all non-essential travel to the region should be reconsidered. Members in the eastern provinces of the DRC are advised to monitor local media sources and liaise with in-country contacts to remain apprised of security-related developments in their particular area of operations. Travellers should heed any directives issued by security forces and local authorities and abide by any extraordinary security measures which may be in place.