Business Travel Advisory
Due to runway construction, there is a traffic management program in effect for flights arriving to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). This is causing some arriving flights to be delayed an average of 2 hours and 8 minutes. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flights and allow additional travel time.
On September 20 and 23, travelers in Washington DC should anticipate disruption during protests by environmental activists and plan journeys accordingly. On September 20, participants are due to march from the White House to the Capitol building and plan to block key intersections in the city to demand action on climate change on September 23. The latter action will coincide with the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City. Both protests are likely to cause local disruption.
Hurricane Dorian has caused catastrophic damage and flooding, particularly on Abaco and Grand Bahama islands. The number of injuries and fatalities is expected to rise. Infrastructure damage has occurred including power, communications, and health facilities. Food and safe drinking water may be limited. Increased health risks posed by the floodwaters include injury, diarrheal diseases, skin infections, and insect-borne diseases. Inbound travel to Abaco, Berry, Bimini, and Grand Bahama islands should be deferred.
All inbound travel to Bermuda should be deferred due to the passage of Hurricane Humberto. Those currently on the islands should depart. Humberto has intensified into a Category 1 Hurricane (the lowest on a five-tier scale) and is expected to further strengthen over the next 24 hours. On its current trajectory, Humberto is forecast to approach the islands tomorrow or September 19.
On September 15, security forces defused two explosive devices along the Pan- American Highway near El Mango village in Piendamo municipality. Locals had alerted security forces of the presence of the devices in the area. Authorities suspect the involvement of dissident members of the former leftist guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The incident underlines the persistent risks posed by guerrilla activity in rural areas of Cauca.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Today, travelers in Israel and the Palestinian Territories should avoid political gatherings as a precaution and expect heightened security during Israeli Legislative Elections. Elections in Israel are generally peaceful, though this poll comes amid renewed cross-border hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Demonstrations are likely and maybe well-attended. Travelers should remain vigilant, especially within 25 miles of the Gaza border, due to the risk of further hostilities.
The central African Republic
At least 38 people were killed, and dozens injured in clashes between rebel groups in Birao on September 14. The violence occurred between the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (FPRC) and the Movement of Central African Freedom Fighters for Justice (MLCJ). Both groups are signatories to a peace agreement facilitated by the UN Peacekeeping Force (MINUSCA) between 14 rebel groups and the government in February.
An outbreak of Ebola continues in the provinces of North Kivu, Ituri, and South Kivu. Key response activities continue to be challenged by security issues. Ebola is spread by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of infected or dead people. Healthcare workers, household members, and people participating in traditional funeral practices are at high risk. Non-essential travel to affected areas should be deferred. Travelers should prevent infection by paying strict attention to hygiene and avoiding contact with blood and body fluids. Travelers should not participate in traditional funerals or go to health facilities where Ebola patients are being treated.
On September 19 and 22, travelers in Kinshasa should anticipate disruption during planned gatherings by the ECIDE opposition party of Martin Fayulu. On September 19, a march will take place from ECIDE’s headquarters on Triomphal Street in the Kasa-Vubu district towards Saint Joseph de Matonge church in the Kalamu district. The event is being organized to commemorate those killed in the violence during opposition protests on September 19, 2016. ECIDE will also hold a gathering at 2:00 PM local time on September 22 at the junction of Pierre Elengesa and Mukoso avenues in the Makala district.
Thousands of cases of chikungunya have been reported in Dire Dawa. Chikungunya is spread by mosquito bites. Symptoms include persistent joint pains, fever, headache, and rash. The disease can be severe, particularly in newborn babies, older adults and people with underlying health issues. There is no specific treatment and no vaccine. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Cases of leishmaniasis have been reported in several counties. The disease, also called Kala-azar or Black fever, is endemic in Kenya. Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease transmitted by sandflies. Although the disease is more common in residents than travelers, anyone can be affected. Symptoms include ulcers, fever, and weight loss. Visceral leishmaniasis causes severe disease that can be fatal if left untreated. There is no vaccine or drug available to prevent leishmaniasis. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding sandfly bites.
Tomorrow, travelers in Beirut should anticipate disruption due to a planned protest by journalists and other civil society actors at the Justice Palace. The protest is in solidarity with the Editor-in-Chief and Director of an independent newspaper, who have been summoned to the Justice Palace at 9:30 AM local time over a controversial article.
Tomorrow through September 20, travelers in urban centers should avoid demonstrations organized by the opposition Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) due to the potential for unrest. The HRDC’s call came at the end of a Supreme Court ban on demonstrations. The opposition continues to call for Electoral Commission Chair Jane Ansah to be suspended after the disputed May elections. Demonstrators are vowing to continue their campaign until she is removed.
Travelers in Rabat should anticipate further demonstrations during the ongoing trial of a journalist arrested in August for “illegal abortion.” Activists held well-attended demonstrations at the Court of First Instance during hearings on September 9 and 16. A third hearing is scheduled for September 23, though reports indicate a verdict may be released on September 19. Local disruption in the vicinity of gatherings can be expected.
On Thursday, September 19, travelers in Freetown should plan routes bypassing any gatherings linked to a call for protests by a group calling itself “Concerned Sierra Leoneans” (CSL), due to the risk of unrest. The group has circulated a message on social media urging anti-government rallies, but specific details and the extent of CSL’s support are unclear. The events have not received official permission, and police have warned against any unauthorized demonstrations. As such, any protests that go ahead are likely to be forcibly dispersed.
Today, travelers in Pretoria should avoid the vicinity of Menlyn Maine Central Square Shopping Center due to an ongoing security operation. An apparent robber has claimed he has planted explosives in the vicinity of the building, and he has reportedly held some bank employees hostage. Police have evacuated the building. Travelers in the immediate vicinity of the shopping center should minimize movement until police have cleared the scene.
Today, travelers in Pretoria should expect disruption in the Central Business District (CBD) during an anti-crime motorcade by the South Africa National Taxi Council and National Taxi Alliance. Taxi drivers will gather at 9:00 AM local time at Old Putco Depot and drive to taxi ranks across the CBD. The event is likely to cause the most disruption around Bloed, Jeff Masemola, Lilian Ngoyi, Rissik, Schubart, Sisulu and Struben streets, as well as Dr. Savage, Soutpansberg and Steve Biko roads. Travelers should plan routes bypassing the affected areas to minimize inconvenience.
An outbreak of diarrheal illness has been reported in Harare. Gastroenteritis is caused by bacteria or viruses, and most infections occur as a result of ingesting contaminated food and water or coming into contact with infected persons or contaminated surfaces. People generally recover without complications, but severe illness is possible in children, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems. Travelers should choose safe food and water and pay close attention to hygiene.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
An East Rail Line train derailed at around 8:30 AM local time today near the Hung Hom mass transit railway (MTR) station in Hong Kong. At least 8 people were injured, and 500 passengers evacuated from the train. Services on the East Rail Line between Hung Hom and Mong Kok East stations have been suspended, and the frequency of trains serving other stations along the line has been reduced. Services on the West Rail Line have fully normalized; however, intercity train services between Hung Hom and the mainland have been suspended for the remainder of the day.
Today, travelers in Kabul should reconfirm the feasibility of movement following an explosion near Massoud Square. The blast, which occurred at around 1:00 PM local time, struck near the US Embassy and Defense Ministry premises, killing at least six people. The latter is suspected to be the intended target of the attack, which was claimed by the Taliban. Authorities are investigating whether the incident was a suicide bombing.
Travelers in Lismore should continue to abide by all official directives following a security operation at Southern Cross University. A lockdown was imposed on campus for several hours after police received a threatening phone call at around 1:30 PM local time today. While the lockdown has since been lifted, only conditional access will be granted until further notice. Police have confirmed that there were no shots fired or injuries; investigations into the phone calls continue.
An epidemic of dengue is being reported across a number of islands, including Moorea, Bora Bora, and Nuku Hiva. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Travelers in urban centers should plan journeys avoiding unauthorized protests over the recent removal of mayors in the Kurdish-majority provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin, and Van on terrorism charges. Yesterday, police dispersed a related rally by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Ankara and arrested nine party members, including the HDP’s local Co-Chair. Further demonstrations are particularly likely on Thursday, September 19, which marks one month since the mayors’ removal.
Today, travelers in Sukhum should avoid a protest over the recent Presidential Election. Supporters of opposition candidate Alkhas Kvitsinia of the Amtsakhara party will gather at 11:00 AM local time to protest the Electoral Commission’s decision to declare victory for incumbent Raul Khajimba. The gathering will coincide with a court hearing and is likely to take place outside the High Court.
On September 20, travelers in Tbilisi should plan routes bypassing Parliament during anti-government and anti-Russia demonstrations scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM local time. The gatherings follow a number of unruly demonstrations since June during which more than 240 people, including 80 police officers, were injured, and at least 300 arrested. Organizers are denouncing the recent appointment of former Minister of Interior Giorgi Gakharia as Prime Minister and perceived Russian influence in domestic affairs. The opposition Alliance of Patriots of Georgia party may also stage a simultaneous demonstration, though no details have been released.
Today through September 30, Allgau Airport Memmingen (FMM) will be closed for runway renovation. Most flights will be diverted to nearby airports between these dates; however, Ireland-based budget carrier Ryanair has reportedly canceled services. Travelers should reconfirm flights with their airline and make other transportation arrangements where necessary.
Tomorrow, passengers of KLM transiting Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) should reconfirm flights due to a planned strike. KLM ground staff will observe a four-hour work stoppage at 11:00 AM local time to demand higher wages. Similar strikes earlier this month led to cancellations and delays of several flights.
Today, travelers in St Petersburg should plan journeys bypassing a protest from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM local time in Lenin Square. The gathering is being held to denounce alleged irregularities during recent Municipal Elections, among other issues. Authorities have yet to approve the demonstration.
Today, travelers in London should anticipate disruption around the Strand due to planned mass gatherings by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) environmentalist activist group. The gatherings are aimed at “shutting down” London Fashion Week, and the group has called for its followers to boycott the event this year. Previous protests by the group attracted large crowds, causing significant disruption to road travel and public transportation.
On September 27, passengers of British Airways should monitor developments and reconfirm flights due to a strike by the airline’s pilots over a salary dispute. Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR, and Comair carriers are not affected.