Travel risk round-up: 25 January

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Tasmania bush fire dum cussac

The following risk alerts were taken directly from our RiskMonitor platform.

Australia: Authorities Issue Warnings as Bushfires Continue to Spread Across Tasmania

According to reports from local news sources on Tuesday, 22 January, authorities in Tasmania have issued seven emergency warnings as bushfires continue to burn across the state. A large bushfire burning at Great Pine Tier in the Central Plateau region of the central highlands is putting the regions of Tods Corner, Liawenee, Barren Tier, Miena and Shannon at risk, authorities have advised residents in those areas to travel to a safe location if they are not prepared to actively defend their homes.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members in affected areas are advised to monitor local media sources in order to remain alert to any directives issued by authorities, including evacuation orders, and familiarise themselves with evacuation protocols for their surrounding communities. It is also advised members should familiarise themselves with local evacuation plans including several routes in case of a need to evacuate.

Afghanistan: Dozens of Casualties in Taliban Attack on Military Base in Maidan Wardak

According to regional media outlets on Friday, 18 January, a coalition of opposition groups, the Taliban militants carried out an attack on a military base on Monday, 21 January, in the central province of Maidan Wardak which left 12 dead and more than 30 wounded. The attack was carried out by a car bomb, with a second one later defused by authorities. The provincial health director said the number of casualties is likely to rise as recovery operations continue. Maidan Wardak is a staging ground for suicide bombings, as it is strategically located along the route connecting Kabul to the south.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Afghanistan remains an extremely high-risk operational environment, and deployments should only be undertaken with the strictest possible security risk management procedures in place. Members should maintain a low profile and use a vetted security provider that offers close protection and emergency response services. Minimise time spent in the vicinity of security checkpoints, security headquarters and government buildings, as these are among the primary targets for militant attacks.

China: Students and Labour Activists Detained Following Further Crackdowns in Beijing

According to reports on Wednesday, 23 January, around 12 Chinese labour activists and university students have either gone missing or been detained by police this week, amid a deepening crackdown on activists seeking improved rights for factory workers. Sources stated that three students and two recent graduates of Peking University, and a student from Renmin University have been missing for more than 24 hours, according to a post from a solidarity group released online late on Tuesday, 22 January.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Travellers are advised to monitor further developments relating to the ongoing events in China. Demonstrations and large crowds should be avoided as they carry an increased security risk.

Philippines: Government Troops Clash with Suspected Maute Militants in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao Region

According to local media reports on Thursday 24 January, government forces have clashed with suspected Maute group militants in the vicinity of Lanao del Sur, Mindanao region. At least three troops have been wounded in the fighting, which broke out at 0800hrs (0001 UTC) near the town of Lumbaca-Unayan. A number of militants have also been killed in the encounter and fighting is ongoing. The incident comes as security forces continue to target remaining Maute cells within the area.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Travellers should avoid non-essential travel to Mindanao given the high threat of terrorism and ongoing military operations on the island. Clients with operational interests in the area should work in coordination with local authorities and a reputable private security provider. Those in the area should have in place a strict journey management plan commensurate with the security situation, often involving security trained drivers and CPOs. Keep apprised of further developments by monitoring local sources.

Japan: Heavy Snow Forecasted this Weekend over Eastern and Western Japan

Regional media sources reported on Friday, 25 January, that heavy snowfall is expected over a wide area of eastern to western Japan. The snowfall is anticipated to fall on Saturday, 26 January, and Sunday, 27 January, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Over the 24-hour period to 0600hrs on Saturday, 26 January (2100 UTC; Friday, 25 January), the JMA predicts snowfall of up to 38cm (15 inches) in the Hokuriku region on the central Sea of Japan coast, and in the Chugoku region in western Japan. Over the same period, 28cm (11 inches) of snow is expected to fall in the Kanto-Koshin region in central Japan, the Tokai region in central to western Japan, and the Kinki region in western Japan. Over the following 24 hours until 0600hrs on Sunday, 27 January (2100 UTC; Saturday, 26 January), the Kanto-Koshin region could experience 68 to 88cm (27 to 35 inches) of snow. The agency also forecasts snowfall of 58 to 78cm (23 to 31 inches) in the Hokuriku region, 27 to 48cm (11 to 19 inches) in the Tokai, Kinki and Chugoku regions, 17 to 38cm (7 to 15 inches) in northern areas of Kyushu in southwestern Japan, and 10 to 20cm (4 to 8 inches) in the Shikoku region. The JMA warns of icy roads and possible avalanches.

Advice for businesses and travellers

Members conducting overland travel in the region should review itineraries in light of the weather warnings. Monitor local media for the latest weather-related updates and any further associated travel disruption. Motorists should exercise extreme caution due to the hazardous driving conditions and any non-essential overland travel should be avoided due to the risk of disruption and potential safety concerns.

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