Travel risk round-up: 22 February

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Ecuador/Peru: Emerging Reports of 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake in Pastaza Province near Peruvian Border

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on Friday, 22 February, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Pastaza province near the Peruvian border, with the epicentre located 115km (71.4 miles) east-southeast of Palora town, Morona Santiago province at 0517hrs (1017 UTC). The earthquake struck at a depth of 132.4km (82.2 miles). There are currently no details available on possible damages or injuries caused by the earthquake. The United States National Tsunami Warning Centre has stated that a tsunami is not expected.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Travellers should maintain extra vigilance in the event of potential further seismic activity and aftershocks. Monitor local media outlets for updates, and heed any directives given by the authorities in order to minimise risks.

Philippines: Fatalities Associated with Measles Outbreak Continues to Rise

According to regional media reports on Tuesday, 19 February, officials have stated that an ongoing measles outbreak has killed over 130 people. As of Saturday, 16 February, over 8,000 cases of the disease have been recorded since the beginning of the year, with the hardest hit areas being Calabarzon and the Metro Manila area where in the case of the latter, infections have increased at a rate of over 1,000 per cent.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Measles is a highly prevalent disease worldwide for which there is no treatment other than rest and taking pain-reducing medication. Therefore the best prevention method is early vaccination. Travellers considering visiting the Philippines are advised to have their vaccination records updated to ensure that they have had the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella or measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations pre-deployment.

Yemen: Civilians Killed after Mortar Fire Strikes Market in Hodeidah

According to international media sources, three civilians were killed when mortar shells fired by the rebel Houthi group struck a popular market in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Tuesday, 20 February. Seven injured people were also reportedly transported to a hospital in Aden following the incident at the Muteena market in Tuhyata district. Hodeidah has become a key focal point of the ongoing internal conflict between the Saudi-backed Arab coalition and Houthi forces.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Due to the ongoing conflict, Yemen remains an extreme risk environment and as such members should reconsider all non-essential travel to the country at this time. Operationally-critical travel should only be conducted with maximum security provisions in place and all movements outside secure compounds should only be carried out following a thorough localised risk assessment.

Iraq: Security Forces Kill Multiple Islamic State Militants in Badush, Nineveh Province

According to local media sources, Iraqi security forces on Wednesday, February 20, killed five suspected Islamic State suicide bombers in the northern province of Nineveh. The joint operation involving Iraqi army and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi ambushed the five suicide bombers wearing explosive vests and surrounded them in their vehicle in the Badush and opened fire, killing the all five and set the vehicle ablaze.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Those in the Nineveh are advised to minimise non-essential travel due to the security situation. Travellers should monitor local media sources for further updates and to remain apprised of any further fighting. All journeys in Northern Iraq should be undertaken on an operationally-critical basis only. Movements should be coordinated with security forces in conjunction with a thorough, localised threat assessment and strict security measures, including the use of armed security escorts.

UK & France: Eurostar Cancels some Services between London and Paris on 18 and 19 February

According to travel consultants, a number of Eurostar services have been cancelled between London and Paris on Monday, 18 February, and Tuesday, 19 February. The cancellations are a result of the discovery of an unexploded WWII bomb at the Gare du Nord in Paris on Sunday, 17 February, which has since been dealt with by authorities. The following trains have been cancelled:
18 February:
9050: London St Pancras to Paris Nord 1901 (departing 1901 UTC)
9055:Paris Nord to London St Pancras (departing 1906hrs, 1806 UTC)
19 February:
9013:Paris Nord to London St Pancras (departing 0837hrs, 0737 UTC)
9014:London St Pancras to Paris Nord (departing 1022hrs, 0922 UTC)
9055: Paris Nord to London St Pancras (departing 1906hrs, 1806 UTC

Advice for businesses and travellers

Travellers intending to from to or from London or Paris with the Eurostar service are advised to anticipate significant travel disruption and a surge in demand for alternative means of travel during the strikes. Members planning to travel by train in Eurostar in the short and medium term are advised to contact their travel provider in advance to remain apprised of any developments. Monitor local media reports for further updates.

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