Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 36

Headlines From This Week

  • Hurricane Irma – Hurricane Irma has been described as the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in history, reaching a Category Five storm. At least 1.2 million people have been affected by the storm as it ripped through a number of Caribbean islands including Barbuda, where Irma has estimated to have destroyed 95 per cent of dwellings. Irma has now weakened to a Category Four storm as it moves past Turks and Caicos and Cuba, towards Bahamas, and Florida. It is then expected to become a Category Two storm as it passes Miami (by early morning, 11 September). The British and French governments, who both have overseas territories in the region, have promised finances to help locals rebuild. A number of islands in the Caribbean are now on watch for Hurricane Jose, which is expected to be a Category Four Storm.
  • Mexico Earthquake – Mexican authorities have confirmed that at least 27 people were killed after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake, the strongest to hit the country in a century, struck off the coast of the state of Chiapas late night on 8 September. Hundreds of thousands have been left without power and multiple buildings have collapsed, some with people inside; extensive damage has been noted in Chiapas and Oaxaca states. A tsunami warning has been issued for countries across the Pacific, including as far away as New Zealand and Ecuador. Waves of three metres are expected to continue to hit the Mexican coast. The Mexican government has mobilised the military to assist in operations.
  • North Korea Nuclear Test – For much of 2017, North Korea has been testing its ballistic missile technology, with missiles generally falling into the sea. However, on 3 September, Pyongyang conducted a test on a nuclear device – its sixth to date. Analysts have suggested that this was a new type of hydrogen bomb. The test caused the equivalent of a 6.3 magnitude earthquake and was felt across the border in China. It is now feared that Pyongyang has been able to shrink a nuclear warhead to such an extent that it could fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The test was widely condemned and new sanctions are expected.
  • Anti-THAAD protests in South Korea – Dozens were injured after police and protesters clashed in Seongju on 7 September. Protesters had taken to the streets to voice opposition to the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system, which has been upgraded in light of the recent North Korea nuclear test. China also launched its own diplomatic protest, seeing the missile system as a threat to its sovereignty.
  • Protests in Togo – Thousands have taken to the streets in the small African nation of Togo between 6-7 September, to protest against President Gnassingbe and his family’s 50-year rule. The unrest marks the largest challenge to his rule since his 2005 ascension to power. Togo authorities have reportedly cut off internet access in response and fired tear gas to contain protestors.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • North Korea National Day – North Korea commemorates its ‘Day of the Foundation of the Republic’ on 9 September. The day is one of the most important on the North Korean calendar. South Korea is already preparing for a missile launch, as tests regularly occur on days of national significance.
  • UN General Assembly – The 72nd session of the UN General Assembly is due to take place between 12 and 20 September. High on the agenda is likely to be the issues regarding North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme, alongside other current global flashpoints. The UN General Assembly is based in New York City and regularly brings widespread travel disruption to the city as dignitaries from around the world attend the event. Travellers should expect numerous road closures around the UN building in Manhattan’s East Side, with police encouraging the use of public transport during the affected period.
  • French General Strike – The left-wing French CGT union have called for a general strike on 12 September to protest against a government plan for labour market reform. It is unclear how many workers are due to take part in the strike but workers from state utility firm EDF and air traffic controllers have confirmed attendance. This could lead to electricity issues and travel disruption within France. Travellers should avoid any workers’ protests, which are liable to turn violent

Significant Dates & Events

  • 19 August – 10 September – Vuelta a Espana Cycling Race
  • 9 September – Tajikistan Independence Day
  • 10 September – Belize National Day
  • 10 September – Planned demonstrations against France’s state of emergency
  • 10 September – Marriage equality rally due to take place in Sydney, Australia
  • 12 September – Public transport workers plan protests in Lazio and Lombardy, Italy
  • 15 September – Costa Rica Independence Day
  • 15 September – Guatemala Independence Day
  • 15 September – Honduras Independence Day
  • 15 September – El Salvador Independence Day
  • 15 September – Nicaragua Independence Day

Click link to Download PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 36 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 36 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.