Members in northern Madagascar, Comoros, Reunion (France) and Mayotte (France) over the coming days should monitor developments related to a tropical weather system in the south-western Indian Ocean. The weather system may strengthen into a tropical storm on 7 December. Authorities have issued 'warnings' (the lowest on a three-tier scale) for the three northern Madagascar regions of Diana, Sava and Sofia. Heavy rain from the storm is liable to trigger flooding and mudslides, disrupting travel in affected areas. Cyclones are common in the region between November and April.
Latest update: further cases identified. Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) has been detected in several locations. The cVDPV strains can emerge in under-vaccinated populations. Travellers are recommended to be fully immunised against polio prior to travel. Polio is a contagious viral illness that causes paralysis and death. The infection is spread through ingestion of contaminated food or water, or directly from an infected person.
Members in Hong Kong on 6-9 Decembershould avoid protests and plan journeys accounting for disruption in affected areas (see More detail section). Rallies are planned over the weekend, though several are pending authorisation by the police. While official planned demonstrations are expected to be largely peaceful, hardline protesters may hold their own gatherings. These tend to be disruptive and to occur over the weekend and after official rallies conclude. Riot police are likely to be deployed in response, and the authorities may also pre-emptively close Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations.
Members travelling via Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) on 7 December should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption on routes and transport services to the facility. From 14.00 (local time), protesters plan to use cars to cause congestion around the Tsing Ma Bridge, a key route to the airport. They may also attempt to disrupt the movement of Airport Express train service, airport buses, taxis and other vehicles.
Latest update: ongoing poor air quality across New South Wales and Queensland. Numerous bushfires burning in multiple locations across the states of New South Wales and Queensland are affecting air quality. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying heart and lung disease (high-risk groups) are particularly vulnerable. To lessen the risk of potential health problems, reduce exposure by decreasing time and physical activity outdoors. Defer all travel to any non-urban areas under a Catastrophic Fire Danger warning and defer non-essential travel to non-urban areas under an Extreme Fire Danger warning. For more information visit the International SOS Air Pollution website and monitor the Travel Security Online advisory for details on areas with Fire Danger warnings in place.
Members in the capital Vienna on 6-8 December should anticipate daily protests at Theodor-Herzl-Platz from 08.00 to 16.00 (local time) in solidarity with ongoing demonstrations in Iran. Protests have occurred in Iran in recent weeks over a fuel price hike and worsening socio-economic conditions in the country amid US nuclear-related sanctions. The first demonstration in Vienna on 6 December will coincide with scheduled talks between Iranian diplomats and European signatories of the 2015 the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.
Unidentified gunmen attacked a church in Hantoukoura (Komondjari province, Est region) on 1 December, killing at least 14 civilians and injuring several. This followed a major attack on 6 November on a mining convoy along the Ougarou-Boungou roard, approximately 25 miles (40km) from Boungou (Gnagna province, Est); at least 37 people were killed and more than 60 injured when gunmen ambushed five buses carrying employees and contractors as well as their military escort. These incidents underline the HIGH risks associated with travel outside the national capital Ouagadougou and regional capital Bobo Dioulasso (Hauts-Bassins region), and the credible risk of militancy.
Members in Burkina Faso are reminded to abide by movement restrictions across several regions. Overnight curfews in the Sahel region were renewed on 5 December and will remain in place until 18 January 2020 (see More detail). Similar curfews are in place in Sourou and Kossi provinces (Boucle du Mouhoun region) and across Est region until 3 January 2020. The curfews are in response to militant activity. Most recently, on 3 December, a gendarmerie post in Djibo (Soum province, Sahel region) was attacked, following three other assaults on security forces within 24 hours in the same province.
Members in the capital Santiago and other urban centres should continue to anticipate and avoid anti-government protests, which persist despite the authorities' promise of a referendum in April 2020 on replacing the military-era constitution. Some well-attended and disruptive demonstrations in recent days have involved roadblocks and vandalism. Protests are likely to continue and, as the authorities have used force to disperse them, there is an incidental risk to bystanders. President Sebastian Pinera has said that, 'if necessary', he is willing to redeploy the military to the streets to protect public infrastructure. Government buildings, major public squares (plazas) and university campuses are common flashpoints for unrest.
Members in Maipu (Santiago Metropolitan Region) should follow all official directives, following an explosion at a chemical plant located onAvenida Camino a Melipilla at approximately 02.20 (local time) on 5 December. The authorities have ordered an evacuation of the nearby Villa Los Heroes neighborhood.Members should plan journeys avoiding Avenida Camino a Melipilla and Avenida Tres Poniente in the coming hours.
Members in the capital Santiago on6 Decembershould avoid a march by feminist groups against gender violence to minimise delays. Participants plan to gather at 11.15 (local time) atSan Martín Cathedraland proceed to the General Directorate of Carabineros.
A human case of H9N2 avian influenza was reported in late November. Bird flu can cause a mild to severe respiratory illness which may be fatal. Most people who have been infected have had direct exposure to birds. The risk of infection in the general population appears to be low. Prevent infection by paying attention to hygiene and avoiding contact with birds and their environment.
Members in Dominica, particularly the capital Roseau, should anticipate and avoid further protests linked to the6 Decembergeneral election, as a precaution. Protesters on 3 December erected barricades with burning tyres on the main road leading to Douglas-Charles Airport (DOM) near Marigot (Saint Andrew parish). The incident reportedly prompted flight cancellations at the airport. Disruptive demonstrations also occurred in parts of the country on 4 December. Participants are demanding electoral reforms, including the issuance of voter identification cards, and have said that protests will continue in the coming days. The police have occasionally used tear gas to disperse unruly protesters, and further unrest may occur during any upcoming gatherings.
Members in France should anticipate protests and significant travel disruption during an indefinite nationwide transport strike that began on 5 December over planned pension reforms. Unions at RATP, the public transport operator in the capital Paris, have said that the strike will continue until at least 9 December. Unions atrail providers SNCF, Eurostar, Thalys, TGV Lyria, as well as national carrier Air France and air traffic controllers, are also participating in the industrial action. Members should avoid related protests due to the risk of incidental exposure to violence, and expect traffic congestion around major transport hubs and heightened demand for taxis and other private transport providers.
Members travelling by road on 7 December should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by protesting lorry drivers. The OTRE union has announced several actions in protest at a proposed increase in fuel duty. A roadblock from 10.30 (local time) will be in place on the RN137 between Rennes (Brittany region) and Nantes (Pays de la Loire region). Meanwhile, blockades will be maintained on the A63 and at the intersection of the A62 and A65, which connect France with Spain, with the object of preventing foreign trucks from proceeding.
Members should continue to avoid weekly demonstrations by the Yellow Vests ('Gilets Jaunes', GJ) movement, including upcoming protests on 7 December. In the capital Paris, GJ members are set to gather from 09.00 (all times local) at Bercy metro station before heading to Porte de Versailles. In Toulouse (Occitanie region), they will gather from 10.00 at Place du Capitole, and in Strasbourg (Grand Est) from 13.30 at Place de l'Etoile. These latest gatherings come amid the biggest national strike in France in several years (see our separate report), with GJ members also planning to join related demonstrations on 7 December.
Members in Stuttgart (Baden-Wurttemberg state) on 7 December should anticipate disruption during a planned demonstration on Lautenschlagerstrasse, close to the central railway station (Hauptbahnhof). The event, which is due to begin at 14.00 (local time), has been called by civil society and leftist groups to demand that the government address humanitarian issues.
We have increased the travel risk rating of northern areas within 18 miles (30km) of the border with Burkina Faso from LOW to MEDIUM, to reflect an increasing threat of cross-border incursions by armed groups. While Ghana has no history of terrorism, the security environment in Burkina Faso has deteriorated, including in southern regions, with armed groups demonstrating the intent and capability to push further south. This raises the risk of banditry and kidnapping. Overland travel should only be undertaken during daylight hours, with appropriate journey management protocols. Travellers should maintain constant situational awareness and remain abreast of current security developments before setting out.
Members in the capital Conakry and other main cities should anticipate and avoid further anti-government protests due to the risk of unrest. On 6 December, a funeral march will take place to commemorate the victims of fatal protests held on 4 and 14 November. Organisers are also awaiting an official authorisation for a prayer due to be held at the Grand Mosque of Conakry. Nationwide demonstrations that were called by the opposition Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) alliance on 3 December have been postponed to 10 December. In Conakry, participants are scheduled to march from Rond-Point Gbessia to Stade de la Mission in the Kaloum area.
Members should defer all travel to Haiti until 10 December; those in-country should continue to minimise non-essential movement and stand fast in a secure location on days of heightened unrest. In the capital Port-au-Prince, protests are planned for 6 December in the vicinity of the US embassy and in other areas of the city (see more detail section). On 30 November, the police used armoured vehicles and tear gas to disperse a large demonstration outside the US embassy. Protests and roadblocks are expected to continue in the coming days. Members should exercise caution, particularly following reports of local gangs extorting road travellers for money.
Members on essential travel in the capital Port-au-Prince in the coming hours should avoid the vicinity of the US embassy due to unrest on 5 December. Protests are also planned until 6 December in other areas of the city, including Carrefour Peyan (Delmas 18), Petionville, Solino, Champ de Mars, Croix des Bouquets, Carrefour Marassa. During similar events previously, protesters have erected road blockades and the use of tear gas by security forces has been reported.
Members in Asom (Assam state) should avoid all protests related to the passage of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill due to the potential for localised unrest. The federal cabinet approved the bill on 4 December; it is expected to be discussed in parliament before an ongoing session concludes on 13 December. If approved, the bill would grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Meanwhile, section 144 banning the assembly of more than five people is in place since 26 November in eastern parts of Guwahati; the measure could also be enforced elsewhere at short notice.
A surge in cases of influenza have been reported. Flu is a viral illness, causing a sudden fever, cough, headache, weakness and muscular pains. Most cases are mild although some can be severe or even fatal. Pregnant women, adults over 65 and young children are at higher risk of severe illness. Prevention is through vaccination and attention to hygiene. (Sources for this alert: BBC and the WHO)
The Jordan Meteorological Department has warned that heavy rainfall in the coming days may lead to reduced visibility, increasing the risk of road traffic accidents. Localised flooding is also possible, especially in valleys and other lower areas. The worst effects are expected in the northern Ajloun, Irbid, Jerash and Mafraq governorates. Temperatures are expected to drop.
Members in Nakuru county over the coming days should anticipate and avoid further protests by students at Egerton University's Njoro and Nakuru town campuses. Local authorities have indefinitely closed the university and ordered students to vacate the campuses following unrest at the main Njoro branch on 4 December. Students reportedly vandalised campus property and clashed with the police, who used tear gas to disperse crowds. Students were protesting against the university's decision to bar those with unpaid fees from taking end-of-semester exams.
Members in the capital Lilongwe on 10 December should avoid a planned demonstration outside the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) building. The demonstration is being organised by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) to demand the resignation of MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah amid allegations of electoral fraud. A heightened security force presence around the protest should be anticipated. Members should plan routes bypassing the affected area to minimise travel delays.
Members in Malaysia should continue to anticipate travel disruption and maintain flexible itineraries during the ongoing monsoon season, which is expected to last until March. Recent heavy rain has caused flooding in parts of the Johor and Sarawak states, and has seriously affected the north-eastern areas of Kelantan and Terengganu states. Three people have been killed and more than 13,000 others evacuated due to flooding as of 5 December. Travellers in affected areas should maintain flexible itineraries and reconfirm the feasibility of journeys before setting out.
At least nine people were injured in an explosion at around 01.00 (local time) on 5 December at the Parque Delta shopping centre in the capital Mexico City. The authorities have cordoned off the area. The cause of the explosion is currently unknown. Members should plan journeys avoiding the shopping centre in the coming hours.
Unidentified gunmen on 3 December attacked two cars on the main road between Mocimboa da Praia and Palma (both Cabo Delgado province). Two people were killed and a South Africa national was injured in the incident, which occurred near Matapata village (Palma district, Cabo Delgado). The attack reportedly occurred close to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project site. Earlier, on 27 November, three people were killed in a militant attack on Litingina village (Nangade district, Cabo Delgado). The attacks reflect the HIGH travel risk rating for Macomia, Meluco, Mocimboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Nangade, Palma and Quissanga districts (all Cabo Delgado).
Recent clashes between the military and the ethnic-Rakhine Arakan Army (AA) insurgents in multiple locations of Rakhine state underscore the potential for spillover violence in MEDIUM travel risk areas, and the need to follow official directives. Three people on 2 December were killed and six others injured during reported military shelling inMrauk-U town.On 1 December, suspected AA members ambushed a military convoy inMa-Ei; this followed the arrest of three insurgents in the same town. The AA also attacked a barge along Kaladan River near Kyauktaw town on 30 November.
Members in Yangon (Yangon region) and other urban centres in the coming days should anticipate and avoid further rallies in support of Aung San Suu Kyi. The country's de facto leader and other high-ranking government and military officials are due to appear at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague (Netherlands) on10-12 December. Myanmar is facing charges of genocide in connection with a 2017 counter-insurgency campaign in Rakhine state. The rallies are likely to be peaceful but will cause disruption in their vicinities.
Members in Nepal should monitor developments and continue to avoid all political gatherings linked to the 30 November by-elections. Voter turnout reportedly exceeded 65% and the results are due to be announced in the coming days. Despite the heightened security force presence, bombs detonated at four polling stations in Pokhara (Gandaki Pradesh province), causing no damage or casualties. Celebratory gatherings and related protests contesting the results should be avoided due to the risk of political violence.
Members should continue to check the status of routes and follow all official directives in the coming days due to extended fire danger warnings across the territory. A fresh red alert (the highest level on a four-tier scale) has been issued for 12 communes in the centre and south-east of the main island of Grand Terre, including the capital Noumea. An orange alert (second-highest level) remains in place for the rest of the island and communes in Loyalty Islands province, while fire warnings also remain in effect over four communes in Northern province (Kaala-Gomen, Koumac, Ouegoa and Poum).
Members in Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region) on 8 December should avoid planned demonstrations by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) opposition party. While no further details have been announced, participants are likely to gather outside the Provincial Assembly. The protests are being organised against the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Protestsdemanding Prime Minister Imran Khan's resignation and a fresh election have been occurring since November. These have included a 13-day sit-in in the capital Islamabad involving tens of thousands of protesters, as well as roadblocks on major routes across the countryon 14 November.
A daily curfew from 18.00 to 06.00 (local time) is ongoing in the low-income Eight-Mile settlement area of the capital Port Moresby. The measure was imposed following communal unrest overnight on 29-30 November in the area; at least three people were killed and more than 20 houses set alight. The disturbances underline the need for members to avoid travel to low-income settlements, where the risk of communal unrest is significantly higher than other areas of the capital.
Members on Mindanao island over the coming hours should exercise caution and reconfirm the status of routes following a magnitude 5.5 offshore earthquake earlier on 5 December. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the temblor at 20.24 (local time) struck around 80 miles (130km) south-south-east of Pundaguitan (Davao Oriental province, Mindanao), at a depth of 37 miles (61km). It was lightly-to-moderately felt in other parts of Mindanao, including Davao City (Davao del Sur province). There are no reports of casualties or damage, and no tsunami warning was issued.
Members should anticipate heavy rain and associated intermittent disruption during the ongoing north-eastern monsoon season until February. The Department of Meteorology on 3 December issued an advisory for heavy rainfall in parts of Central, Sabaragamuwa, Northern and Eastern provinces. In addition, landslide warnings have been issued for Ratnapura (Sabaragamuwa), Badulla (Uva province), Kandy and Nuwara Eliya (both Central) districts. At least six people have been killed and around 1,000 others displaced across the country. Members in affected areas should maintain flexible itineraries.
Members in or travelling to Ugandain the coming days should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by flooding that has impacted all four regions of the country (Central, Eastern, Northern, and Western). A number of roads and bridges in rural areas are impassable; these include a road near Pakwach Bridge, cutting off access to Western Nile (Northern region).According to the authorities, at least six people have been killed and around 50 have been reported missing following mudslides around Mount Elgon (Eastern region).Further rain is forecast in the coming days, which will likely exacerbate the situation and also potentially hinder repair and relief efforts.
Members in the capital Kyiv on 8 December should avoid protests against a potential political compromise with Russia during the so-called ‘Normandy Four’ summit on 9 December in Paris (France). Demonstrations are due to be held at 13.00 (local time) at Independence Square and at 19.00 outside the presidential administration building. The demonstrations are expected to be well attended. Participants intend to set up tents outside the presidential administration building until the conference concludes. Gatherings may persist in the event that the summit’s outcome is deemed unfavourable by protesters.
Members in urban centres should anticipate localised disruption during upcoming protests by environmental activists. Demonstrations are planned for 6 December across the country, including in the capital Washington (DC).