1 September 2017


News summary

 
HONDURAS - Nationwide protests expected
MEXICO - (Update) Tropical Storm Lidia continues to move north northwestward towards the Baja Peninsula
UNITED STATES - (Update) Chemical plant explodes in Crosby, Texas
UNITED STATES - (Update) Flooding recedes in some areas of Houston, Texas
UNITED STATES - (Update) Limited operations ongoing at Houston Bush and Hobby airports in Houston, Texas
UNITED STATES - Hurricane Harvey damage causes energy sector disruptions
 
INDIA - (Update) Disruptions and unrest to continue in Darjeeling and Kalimpong
PAKISTAN - (Update) Flooding disruptions likely to continue across Sindh province
PAKISTAN - Chikungunya activity reported nationwide
PAKISTAN - Protests expected over preliminary census results
PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Unrest results in blockade of main highway
PHILIPPINES - Protests possible over controversial presidential announcement
 
GERMANY - Bomb disposal in Frankfurt to result in disruptions
SWEDEN - Assailant arrested after attacking police officer in Stockholm
TURKEY - Blast leaves several wounded in Izmir
 
ALGERIA - Suicide bomber kills two policemen in Tiaret
BAHRAIN - Opposition protests in several urban areas
 
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Doctors at public hospitals escalate ongoing nationwide strike
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Police fire live ammunition to disperse protests in Lubumbashi
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Possible fuel shortages in Kinshasa
NIGERIA - Violent unrest in Owerri
SOUTH AFRICA - Security increased following violent unrest at Cape Town campus
SOUTH SUDAN - Humanitarian aid plane crash in Maban
 



 

Americas

HONDURAS (Country risk rating: High); September 1 and 2; Nationwide protests expected

Activists announced plans to hold torch-lit marches countrywide to protest corruption and the privatisation of the health system. According to organisers, a march will be held on September 1 in the capital, Tegucigalpa, beginning with a rally in the Colonia John F. Kennedy neighbourhood at 1700. The rally will be held at the intersection of Boulevard Centroamerica, Boulevard Kennedy, and Primera Entrada Colonia Kennedy. Similar demonstrations will occur on September 2 in the cities of El Progreso, Yoro department; La Ceiba, Atlantida department; and San Pedro Sula, Cortes department. The precise times and locations of the protests in these cities were not announced. Marches are likely to impede ground transport in affected areas, and tensions between demonstrators and police could lead to violence. Furthermore, the demonstrations could lead to a wider protest movement that generates political instability in the country. Previous torch-lit demonstrations against corruption occurred in Honduras shortly after a major corruption scandal in neighbouring Guatemala led to the resignation and imprisonment of former Guatemalan president, Otto Perez Molina, in 2015. The upcoming demonstrations in Honduras once again coincide with a corruption scandal and serious instability in Guatemala, and Honduran activists are keen to use the situation in Guatemala as an example of the impact anti-corruption protests can have and as inspiration for further action.

Advice: Avoid all demonstrations as a precaution. Do not attempt to drive through areas where protesters are blocking roads. Allow additional driving time if operating near protest venues and affected areas. Seek updated information from trusted local sources on road conditions before travelling in the area.


MEXICO (Country risk rating: High); September 1; (Update) Tropical Storm Lidia continues to move north northwestward towards the Baja Peninsula

Tropical Storm Lidia continues to move north northwestward towards the Baja California Peninsula on September 1. The storm's centre passed over the lower end of the Baja California Peninsula during the evening of August 31. The system may strengthen slightly during September 1, but it is expected to weaken as it continues its motion over the Baja California Peninsula. Lidia will likely bring heavy rainfall, strong winds, and storm surge to parts of western Mexico through September 4. Widespread rainfall accumulations of 20-30 cm (8-12 inches), with localised amounts of up to 50 cm (20 inches), are possible in Baja California Sur and western Jalisco states. Coastal areas of Colima, Michoacan, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Sonora states are predicted to receive 7.5-15 cm (3-6 inches) of rainfall. Flash and areal flooding is possible, especially in coastal and low-lying areas. Mudslides are likely, especially in mountainous areas. Significant coastal flooding and storm surge is expected in southern parts of Baja California Sur; during the system's approach and passage, rough seas are likely, and dangerous rip currents are possible.

Advice: Review contingency plans and be prepared to implement them, especially if operating in Baja California Sur. Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routeing shipments through affected states in western Mexico, especially mountainous areas. Charge battery-powered devices and stockpile bottled water and non-perishable food in case of prolonged electricity outages. Confirm flights.


UNITED STATES (Country risk rating: Medium); August 31; (Update) Chemical plant explodes in Crosby, Texas

A chemical plant in Crosby, Texas exploded and started burning at around 0200 on August 31. The plant, owned by Arkema, Inc., is located about 34 km (21 miles) northeast of central Houston. A power outage caused refrigeration of the organic chemicals stored there to fail. Once the backup power from generators finally failed, the chemicals became unstable and exploded. Irritation from smoke and fumes and difficulty in getting firefighting equipment to the site have prompted emergency responders to let the resultant fires burn out. While officials believe the smoke is not toxic, inhalation can irritate lungs and mucous membranes. Officials have ordered an evacuation of residents from within a 2.4 km (1.5 mile) radius of the plant. The plant was inundated by around 2 meters (6 feet) of water from Tropical Storm Harvey; plant managers said the explosion from the loss of refrigeration was inevitable once the power failed. Prevailing winds are from the west-southwest, so irritating smoke from the fire - which could persist for hours until it burns out - will drift to the east-northeast of the plant. The plant makes organic peroxides used in the manufacture of items like kitchen countertops, paint, polystyrene dishware, and PVC piping. The chemicals are not toxic, but extremely volatile. Plant officials say that chemicals from the plant will eventually leak into the surrounding floodwaters once the fire burns out.

Advice: Avoid the area until responders give the all-clear. Seek alternative routes that avoid US Route 90 (Beaumont Highway) at Crosby, which lies adjacent to the plant. If evacuation is impossible, seek an area upwind of the plant, or remain indoors in air conditioning if possible with windows closed.


UNITED STATES (Country risk rating: Medium); September 1; (Update) Flooding recedes in some areas of Houston, Texas

Some city services are resuming in Houston, Texas, following the passage of Hurricane Harvey and the reduction of floodwaters in some areas of the city. As of September 1, water levels along many creeks and bayous in Harris County have dropped. Despite this, flooding persists near the Addicks and Barker reservoirs and along larger bodies of water north and south of the city. Although some residents are returning to conduct cleanup operations, as many as 35,000 people remain in shelters across the area. Monitoring gauges throughout the Greater Houston area continue to show elevated water levels in several areas outside Beltway 8; water levels in Buffalo Bayou in the downtown area are forecast to hold steady, just below flood stage, through early September. The Houston Fire Department is starting to conduct a block-by-block search of flooded neighbourhoods to ensure no one else is stranded or needs assistance. Response times for emergency services could continue to be slow for several days as recovery efforts commence throughout Greater Houston. Power outages could persist in residential areas into early September, especially if restoration crews have difficulties accessing neighbourhoods due to street closures and residual floodwaters. The floodwaters have increased threats from mosquito-borne disease and water-borne contaminants, especially from inundated vehicles and industrial sites. Floodwaters also become vectors for the spread of disease.

Advice: Seek updated information on road conditions before driving or routeing shipments through flood-affected areas. Be prepared to move quickly to higher ground if water levels begin rising. Stay away from all waterways and drainage features. 911 services are overwhelmed; do not request emergency assistance unless there is a life-threatening situation or imminent danger. Heed all evacuation orders. Avoid immersion in floodwaters if possible. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.


UNITED STATES (Country risk rating: Medium); September 1; (Update) Limited operations ongoing at Houston Bush and Hobby airports in Houston, Texas

Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) in Houston, Texas, are operating limited numbers of commercial flights on September. Both airports reopened at 1600 on August 30; however, most flights at the two facilities remain cancelled through September 2. Southwest Airlines (WN), the largest carrier at HOU, has cancelled all flights to the airport until 1200 on September 2. United Airlines (UA), the largest carrier at IAH, operated 31 flights to IAH on August 31 and plans to gradually increase operations to approximately 80 percent of its normal daily operations by September 4. UA does not expect to return to full operations at IAH until September 19. Airlines with smaller operations at IAH and HOU plan to operate most of their daily flights to each airport by September 1. Additional flight disruptions are likely through Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky as the remnants of Harvey move further north through September 2. Further airport closures, however, are unlikely. All airports in Louisiana that were affected by heavy rainfall on August 30 are currently open. Significant flight disruptions are continuing at other regional airports that handle high volumes of flights from the Houston area (IAH, HOU). Significant airline network disruptions are expected to persist through at least September 3.

Advice: Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or attempting to drive to the airport after the situation begins to normalise. Contact airlines for information about change fee waivers.


UNITED STATES (Country risk rating: Medium); August 31; Hurricane Harvey damage causes energy sector disruptions

Damage associated with the passage of Hurricane Harvey has caused extensive disruptions in the energy and petrochemical sectors in Texas and southwestern Louisiana. As of Aug. 31, many refineries and petrochemical plants remained closed or are operating at reduced capacity. Prolonged flooding is expected throughout the region, and normal operations could take weeks to resume at some facilities. Hurricane ride-out crews were able to keep all or parts of certain plants operating during the storm, but workforce disruptions are expected due to property losses and transport issues and will complicate the resumption of normal operations in the weeks ahead. Aside from property losses, catastrophic storm flooding will have profound economic effects. Initial estimates suggest that Harvey will be one of the costliest natural disasters in US history. While physical damage to pipeline facilities has been limited outside Houston, Pasadena, and Cedar Bayou, a number of midstream operators have declared force majeure in Texas and Louisiana. Pipelines operated by these companies deliver feedstock to refineries and lift refined products for distribution throughout the central and eastern US. Ports cannot reopen until damage assessments are complete and the US Coast Guard is able to determine that channels are navigable and free of debris and other hazards. Silting has been reported at the ports of Freeport and Houston. The storm has caused severe disruptions in the petrochemical sector. Plants within the disaster zone account for more than 30 percent of all petrochemical production in the US, and many have either been closed or operators have declared force majeure on specific products. Many facilities will probably be able to resume operations relatively quickly after flooding subsides, but protracted supply chain disruptions are likely.


Asia and Pacific

INDIA (Country risk rating: High); September 1 to 12; (Update) Disruptions and unrest to continue in Darjeeling and Kalimpong

A faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) announced suspension of an ongoing general strike in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts, northern West Bengal State, from September 1 to 12. However, another faction headed by GJM leader, Bimal Gurung, has appealed to its supporters to continue the strike and intensify protests in the region. Regardless of affiliations, most shops, markets, and commercial establishments will continue to remain closed, and public transport operators will stay off the roads due to fears of being targeted by strike enforcers. The strike has been causing significant business and transport disruptions in the two Gorkha-dominated districts since June 15. Food shortages are occurring in multiple areas, amid accusations that police are blocking residents who travel outside Darjeeling and Kalimpong from returning with essential goods. The ongoing unrest has also affected tea production in nearly 87 tea gardens in the Darjeeling region. Activists have been staging near-daily protest marches and rallies in conjunction with the strike. Protesters have periodically blocked roads, highways, and rail lines. Demonstrators have engaged in arson and vandalism, torching vehicles and government offices and hurling petrol bombs at security forces. Violence related to the strike has left at least nine people dead and more than 100 others wounded, including 30 police officers. Authorities are maintaining a ban on internet services in Darjeeling and surrounding areas, and residents have complained about occasional news blackouts in the region. Authorities may impose localised curfews or similar restrictions if violence intensifies.

Advice: Stay away from all protests, and limit exposure to places where demonstrations could occur. Immediately leave the area if a protest materialises nearby. Confirm all business appointments and transport reservations. Verify road status prior to attempting travel. Heed all instructions from security personnel.


PAKISTAN (Country risk rating: High); September 1; (Update) Flooding disruptions likely to continue across Sindh province

Flash flooding from torrential downpours associated with a large low-pressure system will likely continue to impact Karachi and other low-lying areas of Sindh province through at least September 2. On August 31, high waters inundated several districts in Karachi, particularly Malir, Karachi West, and Karachi Central, causing extensive business and ground transport disruptions. In addition to widespread vehicle traffic disruptions, services on several long-distance train routes were also cancelled or suspended. Officials at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport (KHI) briefly suspended flights on August 31 due to weather conditions; however, the temporary ground stop did not result in significant residual delays. KHI was reporting normal operations as of early September 1. Flooding and high winds have caused power outages in areas of the city and the surrounding province, which may impact municipal water supply and telecommunications networks. The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) warns that the strong monsoon weather system currently over lower Sindh province will bring further widespread rain and thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds - particularly in Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad, and Karachi divisions - through at least September 1. Authorities expect that it will take several days for floodwaters to subside fully due to the poor drainage system in the region.

Advice: Seek updated information on weather and road conditions before driving or routeing shipments through areas where flooding is expected. Confirm flights at KHI. Stockpile bottled water for drinking and hygienic purposes. Charge battery-powered devices and restrict cell phone use to emergencies only, if electricity is lost; text messages consume less power and are usually more reliable than calls when cellular networks are compromised. Seek updated information on road and rail conditions before travelling long distances. Fuel vehicles, obtain emergency cash, and stockpile water and non-perishable food in case prolonged electricity outages occur.


PAKISTAN (Country risk rating: High); August 27; Chikungunya activity reported nationwide

As of August 27, the WHO has reported at least 7,285 cases of chikungunya in Pakistan since December 2016, with the majority identified since May. The most affected provinces are Balochistan and Sindh, where at least 6,835 cases have been reported as of July 30. Officials have also identified cases in Azad Kashmir, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and Punjab province. According to the WHO, chikungunya infections have been documented in Pakistan in the past. The WHO did not provide information about how many cases occurred or where they were reported; however, it is highly likely that chikungunya is a nationwide risk in Pakistan due to the presence of the Aedes mosquito. Mosquito-borne diseases are a year-round risk in Pakistan, but the risk of infection is usually highest during and immediately following the southwestern monsoon season, which typically occurs from June to September. Chikungunya is similar to dengue fever; both are transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. Symptoms generally appear within a week of exposure and include fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash. The disease is rarely fatal, but symptoms can be severe and disabling during the acute phase. Most patients recover within seven days, but, in some cases, joint pain can persist for months. No vaccine is currently available to prevent chikungunya infection.

Advice: As weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks, or use insect protection containing DEET, picaridin, or another approved repellent. Remove standing water to reduce the number of biting mosquitoes. Seek medical attention if symptoms develop within three weeks of being in affected areas. Do not use aspirin or ibuprofen products if you suspect you may have chikungunya, as these could exacerbate bleeding tendencies associated with the disease.


PAKISTAN (Country risk rating: High); September 1; Protests expected over preliminary census results

A number of political parties have rejected the preliminary results of the recently-held sixth national population census, and could organise demonstrations in Pakistan in the coming days and weeks. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) plans to launch a protest campaign in Sindh province on September 10. Specific details about the campaign have not been released, but the party intends to hold a large rally at the Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi on September 10. Members of other opposing groups may join the MQM-P demonstration or stage separate protest rallies and marches. The largest demonstrations will probably occur in Sindh province, including the cities of Hyderabad, Karachi, and Sukkur, though sizeable gatherings are also probable in Islamabad and in urban areas of other provinces. Major security disturbances are not anticipated, though clashes with police could erupt, particularly if law enforcement forcibly try to disperse any gatherings. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released the initial results of the 2017 population census on August 25; the final results are expected to be revealed in April 2018. Many opposition parties - including the MQM factions and the Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP), which have significant support in Sindh - say the province's population count is shown to be much lower than the actual numbers. They claim that the count had been rigged to favour the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party ahead of next year's general elections.

Advice: Strictly avoid all protests due to the threat of violence. Monitor local media or check with trusted local contacts for updates on protests, as many events may not be announced in advance. Seek shelter in a safe, non-governmental location if a large crowd begins forming nearby. Plan accordingly for probable traffic disruptions near protest venues.


PAPUA NEW GUINEA (Country risk rating: High); August 29; Unrest results in blockade of main highway

Relatives and fellow tribesmen of two slain police officers have blocked sections of the Highlands Highway (also known as the Okuk Highway) since late August 29. The protesters have threatened to loot cargo trucks that attempt to break the blockade and promise to continue their agitation until the government meets their demands. Vehicles are rerouting onto less developed roads. Protests could become violent if police attempt to clear roadblocks by force. The Highlands Highway is a vital transport artery in central New Guinea, but it is frequently affected by ransom-seeking roadblocks, banditry, and political agitation. Sporadic transport and political disruptions are likely to continue even after the current agitation ends. Ethnic and tribal violence, along with widespread electoral irregularities and corruption, marred general elections in July. Protesters are demanding government action over the killing of the two police officers during the elections. Activists in Chuave and Jiwaka accuse members of the ruling People's National Congress (PNC) of murdering the officers.

Advice: Expect the Highlands Highway from Chuave to Mount Hagen to remain closed until further notice. Check with trusted local sources regarding the availability of alternative routes. Supply chain disruptions could continue even after the road reopens, as cargo shipments will be severely backlogged. Armed gangs and youth groups could attempt to steal materials from stranded trucks or demand payments to small vehicles to pass through partially cleared areas. Avoid all demonstrations as a precaution.


PHILIPPINES (Country risk rating: Medium); August 29; Protests possible over controversial presidential announcement

Activist and other groups could organise demonstrations across the Philippines following President Rodrigo Duterte's revelation on August 29 that he was considering a possible compromise agreement with the family of late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, in exchange for the return of part of their so-called ill-gotten wealth. Many lawmakers and groups are opposed to any such deal, which they claim is a scam and part of the Marcos family's plan to return to power. If protests materialise, the largest gatherings will probably take place in Metro Manila, outside Malacanang Palace or other government buildings or other popular rally sites. Smaller gatherings are also possible in other main cities nationwide. Authorities will likely increase security near popular protest sites as a precaution. Significant security disturbances are unlikely, though clashes between security personnel and protesters cannot be ruled out. Traffic delays will probably occur near any rallies. Ferdinand Marcos remains a hugely controversial figure in the Philippines, as he is believed to have amassed an estimated USD 10 billion fortune while overseeing widespread human rights abuses by security forces during his 20-year rule from 1965 to 1986. Duterte has indicated that he would accept the Marcos offer to return part of this wealth to the state coffers. Protests could intensify if Duterte moves forward on the controversial deal. Duterte has openly supported the Marcos family, and allowed the late dictator's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) last November, despite large-scale protests across the country.

Advice: Avoid all demonstrations as a precaution. Use caution near government offices and other popular rally sites, especially in Metro Manila. As demonstrations may not be announced in advance, monitor local media for updates. Plan for traffic disruptions near any protests.


Europe and Russia

GERMANY (Country risk rating: Low); September 3; Bomb disposal in Frankfurt to result in disruptions

Authorities in Frankfurt, Germany, have ordered the evacuation of an estimated 70,000 residents from a 1.5 km (0.93 mile) radius in Frankfurt on September 3, following the discovery of an unexploded WWII-era bomb. The ordnance was found on Wismarer Strausse in the Westend distinct of the city, approximately 2.5 km (1.6 miles) north of the main Zeil shopping area. Several roads will be closed in preparation for the bomb disposal, including the A66 Highway. Rail services and other ground transportation may also be affected. It is currently unclear whether air traffic at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) will be affected. Evacuations are due to start at 0600 on Sept. 3. Officials have said they expect to begin the disposal effort at 1200 and complete it by late afternoon or evening, after which the evacuation orders and movement restrictions will be lifted. Expect localised evacuations, road closures, and ground transportation delays near the bomb location on September 3.

Advice: Heed the instructions of local authorities and vacate the evacuation zone promptly; return only after the all-clear is given. Allow plenty of additional time to reach destinations in Frankfurt on September 3. As a precaution, confirm flight reservations.


SWEDEN (Country risk rating: Low); August 31; Assailant arrested after attacking police officer in Stockholm

Security services in Stockholm arrested a suspect following an attack on a police officer on the morning of August 31. The assailant reportedly stabbed the officer in the neck at around 1030 in Medborgarplatsen. The motive for the attack remains unclear. The Medborgarplatsen metro station was temporarily closed as police investigated the incident.

Advice: Report all suspicious persons, packages and behaviour to the authorities immediately. Always adhere to any security personnel directives.


TURKEY (Country risk rating: High); August 31; Blast leaves several wounded in Izmir

Suspected Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants detonated a bomb that was placed inside a garbage container in Izmir's Buca district at about 0800 on August 31. At least seven people were wounded in the explosion, which reportedly occurred during the passage of a prison bus. The blast also damaged a shuttle bus and nearby vehicles.

Advice: Avoid the blast site until authorities deem the area safe. Police investigations may result in roadblocks and identity checks. Monitor local media and trusted local contacts; heed the advice of security and safety authorities.


Middle East and North Africa

ALGERIA (Country risk rating: High); August 31; Suicide bomber kills two policemen in Tiaret

A suicide bomber killed two policemen in an attack on a police station in the town of Tiaret around 0800 on August 31. The assailant detonated his explosive device outside the building after being wrestled to the ground by one of the officers. Tiaret, the capital of Tiaret Province, is located 180 km (112 miles) southeast of Oran and 220 km (137 miles) southwest of Algiers. The Islamic State (IS) extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack, highlighting a growing threat of IS attacks in Algeria. Most recently, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on a gendarmerie patrol in Larbaa, which wounded four soldiers on May 31. IS also claimed responsibility for a February 26 suicide bombing attempt in Constantine that wounded three police officers. Algerian officials have expressed concerns about the possibility of IS establishing a foothold in Algeria, since IS offshoots and supporters of the group have a significant presence in neighbouring Tunisia and Libya. This attack underscores the high risk of Islamist extremist-related terrorism within Algeria. The risk extends to government interests and security forces, foreign governmental and business interests, oil infrastructure, and tourists.

Advice: Avoid the blast site. Allow additional time for travel in Tiaret on September 1. Heed instructions from security personnel. Carry proper identification at all times, and be polite and non-confrontational if stopped at a security checkpoint.


BAHRAIN (Country risk rating: High); August 31 and September 1; Opposition protests in several urban areas

Opposition activists called for anti-government protests on August 31 and September 1. On August 31, demonstrations were held in Sitra, and ended without major incident. On September 1, protests are set to occur at 1200 in Sanabis and Sadad and at 2000 in Abu Saiba and Barbar. Additional, unannounced protests could materialise at other locations. Clashes between protesters and security forces are possible, as police frequently use tear gas and stun grenades to disperse demonstrators. Localised traffic disruptions are likely near demonstrations. In the past, protesters have burned tyres and targeted security forces with crude explosive devices.

Advice: Avoid all protests due to the potential for violence; if a protest forms near you, leave the area immediately. Do not take photographs. Allow extra time if driving near the affected areas; consider planning alternative routes around the demonstration sites.


Sub-Saharan Africa

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (Country risk rating: High); August 28 to September 2; Doctors at public hospitals escalate ongoing nationwide strike

Doctors working at public health care facilities across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) intensified their ongoing strike by refusing to provide a minimum level of service on August 28, until September 2. The action is the latest episode in a longer-term dispute with the government in Kishasa over salaries and working conditions. While the refusal to render a minimum level of service was slated to last only six days, the Doctors' Union of Congo (SYMECO) has stated that physicians at public hospitals will continue their overall work stoppage until an agreement is reached in the dispute. Despite the temporary escalation declared by striking doctors, it remains unclear how many public hospitals will participate in the measure by actually turning all patients away. Some may simply ignore the declaration and continue to provide care in emergency cases. Nevertheless, high demand and increased wait times are likely at private clinics as public hospital patients seek alternatives for medical services. The public health care strike in the DRC appears to have generally lacked cohesion until now. Doctors initially began staging sporadic walk-outs at certain public hospitals in different parts of the country starting July 21. However, these labour actions failed to draw truly robust participation. It remains unclear whether the recent nationwide refusal by doctors to provide a minimal level of service is an indicator that the campaign of strikes will become more unified moving forward.

Advice: Confirm medical appointments at private clinics, including availability of services due to high demand. If possible, contact health care facilities in advance for information about wait times, which could vary greatly among hospitals and clinics.


DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (Country risk rating: High); August 31; Police fire live ammunition to disperse protests in Lubumbashi

Police fired live ammunition to disperse protesters in several areas of Lubumbashi, including the Kalebuka and Tabacongo neighbourhoods, on the morning of August 31. Unconfirmed reports state the officers killed two people in Kalebuka during the demonstrations, which residents are reportedly holding due to insecurity and banditry in the city. Tensions remain high, and further demonstrations are possible. Security forces could set up checkpoints and roadblocks, and enforce a nighttime curfew, if protests persist. Police will likely use force, including tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition, to disperse any future demonstrations. Residents could call for a ville morte (general strike) to protest the alleged killings and avoid direct confrontations with police. Commercial and transport disruptions are likely should protests and strikes occur.

Advice: Avoid all demonstrations, including the Kalebuka and Tabacongo neighbourhoods, until the situation stabilises. Confirm route and destination security conditions before travelling in Lubumbashi. If a crowd begins to form, or violence breaks out, leave the area immediately or seek shelter in the nearest secure location. Heed instructions from security personnel. Carry proper identification at all times, and remain polite and non-confrontational if stopped at a security checkpoint.


DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (Country risk rating: High); August 30; Possible fuel shortages in Kinshasa

Fuel shortages are possible in Kinshasa amid disruptions to fuel deliveries to distributors. Some filling stations started reporting long queues for fuel on August 30. Preliminary reports indicate that some filling stations have begun imposing purchase limits on motorists. If supply disruptions persist, many filling stations could run out of stocks. Under such circumstances, confrontations between motorists and providers are possible, and have the potential to become violent. Fuel prices are likely to rise dramatically, and price gouging cannot be ruled out. The national energy company, SEP Congo, reassured consumers that it has enough stocks to supply the entire country. However, distributors claim they face challenges in renewing their own supplies. The government has accused distributors of creating the fuel crisis to artificially increase prices. Kinshasa has so far rejected calls to increase fuel prices. The finance minister plans to meet with distributors on September 4 in Kinshasa to discuss their concerns.

Advice: Stock up on fuel when possible; if travelling long distances is unavoidable, ensure your tank is full and carry additional supplies. Do not buy fuel in the black market; security personnel often crack down on black market traders. Ensure fuel supplies to generators; confirm delivery agreements.


NIGERIA (Country risk rating: High); August 30; Violent unrest in Owerri

A heavy police presence and additional patrols are likely across Owerri following violent unrest in the city centre late on August 30. Officers exchanged gunfire with armed youth to disperse two groups fighting with each other near the Control junction, Douglas Road, Njemanze Road, and Port Harcourt Road; several bystanders were wounded. Police reported that a number of youth attacked motorists passing near the affected area and destroyed five vehicles during the unrest. The clashes follow several violent demonstrations related to the August 27 demolition of a market in the Owerri area; at least three people died in the associated violence. Security personnel will likely prevent additional attempts to hold demonstrations by using fire tear gas to disperse crowds. Protesters could block roads with burning debris. Security forces could set up checkpoints and roadblocks. Expect traffic disruptions near security measures, and any protest activity. Owerri, the capital of Imo State, is located 70 km (43 miles) north of Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State.

Advice: Avoid all protests. Confirm route and destination security conditions before travelling in Owerri. If a crowd forms or unrest occurs nearby, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure location. Heed instructions from security personnel. Carry proper identification at all times, and be polite and non-confrontational if stopped at a security checkpoint.


SOUTH AFRICA (Country risk rating: High); August 31; Security increased following violent unrest at Cape Town campus

Additional security personnel were deployed around Cape Town's Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) following a violent protest at the campus early on August 31. During that incident, protesters reportedly ambushed a patrol of private security personnel, wounding a guard, amid student demonstrations. Security personnel used stun grenades to disperse crowds. A long-standing dispute over student accommodation and the deployment of private security guards at CPUT prompted the demonstration. Additional protests remain possible on September 1. Security personnel are likely to forcibly disperse demonstrations, which could prompt clashes with protesters. Police could use tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber bullets to disperse crowds if violence escalates. Protesters could block traffic on roads near CPUT, such as Symphony Way (M171).

Advice: Avoid all protests. Confirm security conditions at CPUT before visiting the campus. If unrest occurs or demonstrations materialise near you, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure location.


SOUTH SUDAN (Country risk rating: Extreme); August 28; Humanitarian aid plane crash in Maban

A Coco Aviation flight chartered by the UN failed to stop on landing at Maban Airstrip (HSMB), former Upper Nile State; the aircraft slipped off the runway, crashed, and burned, at around 1150 on August 28. The crew survived the crash uninjured, but the resultant fire damaged the aircraft beyond repair. Officials placed preliminary blame for the incident on poor weather conditions including heavy rain that caused the 35-year old-cargo plane to skid. The Maban Airstrip is located about 150 km (93 miles) southeast of Paloich. Poor weather conditions and infrastructure likely contribute to the elevated frequency of hard landings by planes conducting internal flights in South Sudan. Humanitarian planes often land on airstrips composed of hard-packed earth, which suffers significant damage during annual rains and floods. However, the age of aircraft and insufficient maintenance may also contribute to crashes; charter flights in South Sudan often use aircraft that have exceeded their expected operational lifespan. Cargo flight operators are also frequently accused of overloading aircraft.