Power has largely been restored at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York City following an outage across the facility last night. The blackout was caused by an electrical fire at a substation in Astoria. The airport was briefly evacuated, and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) issued a temporary ground stop, which has since been lifted. The incident caused several flights to be diverted to nearby airports. Flight operations have now resumed with delays. Passengers transiting LaGuardia airport should expect residual disruption and reconfirm schedules before setting out.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Midwest states, especially Nebraska, the Dakotas, western Kansas and northern parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, should plan itineraries accounting for disruption caused by Winter Storm Eboni. Heavy snowfall and strong winds are causing poor visibility, hazardous driving conditions, and power outages. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued Blizzard Warnings for portions of the Dakotas and Nebraska. Today, Eboni should be moving northeast, leaving remaining effects, such as sleet and freezing rain, in Upstate New York and parts of New England.
Today, travelers in urban centers, particularly Santiago and southern cities, should avoid further protests over the killing of an indigenous Mapuche man by police. While details of the gatherings are not known, they are likely to occur outside government buildings, in major public squares, and around university campuses. There is a potential for local unrest during such demonstrations, which would pose incidental risks to bystanders.
Unidentified assailants fatally stabbed a Swiss tourist during an attempted robbery yesterday in the Deportivo area of Acapulco. The victim’s wife was also injured in the incident, which took place at around 3:00 AM local time at their accommodation. The incident underlines the significant risks posed by crime and the need to avoid nonessential travel to Guerrero state, including Acapulco.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Today, travelers in Goma should avoid the Majengo district following reports that police have fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse a crowd protesting against the postponement of the upcoming Presidential Election in three districts, including two in North Kivu. Demonstrators have barricaded roads. Similar protests occurred in Beni, Butembo, and Goma yesterday. Further demonstrations are expected in the affected areas in the coming days.
Travelers in Grand-Bassam should continue to avoid all gatherings related to a re-run of Municipal Elections originally held in October. Tensions remain high in the town, where Jean-Louis Moulot of the ruling Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) won the December 16 Mayoral Election. Narrowly defeated outgoing Mayor Georges Ezaley of the opposition Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI) has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court to nullify the result. Transportation groups have threatened to stage a “dead-city” protest in Grand-Bassam if the Supreme Court annuls the result.
Travelers should minimize movement after dark in urban centers across Madagascar and continue to avoid all gatherings; this follows the declaration of Andry Rajoelina as the winner of recent Presidential Elections marred by allegations of fraud. The country’s electoral commission announced yesterday that Rajoelina, a former holder of the Presidential office in 2009-14, had won with 55.6% of the vote. His rival Marc Ravalomanana, another former President (2002-09), took 44.3%. Ravalomanana has described the elections as “not credible.” His supporters have planned a rally tomorrow in Antananarivo at 10:00 AM local time near City Hall in the Analakely area
A case of polio has been reported in Zambezia province. 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. All travelers are recommended to be fully immunized against polio prior to travel.
Today, travelers in Dakar should avoid a march along Boulevard de President Habib Bourguiba from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM local time by the Front de Resistance Nationale opposition coalition. The demonstration has been called to demand transparency in the upcoming Presidential Election and validation of the candidacies of former Minister Karim Wade and former Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall. A related gathering took place on December 6 and passed off peacefully.
Travelers in Cape Town should avoid all protests related to a controversial incident on Clifton 4th Beach on Sunday, December 23, when private security guards instructed beachgoers to leave the beach at around 8:00 PM local time, stating that it was “closing.” Gatherings will take place at 6:00 PM local time today and at 8:00 PM local time tomorrow at the beach. Similar demonstrations are expected until at least Wednesday, January 1, 2019. Although the gatherings are expected to pass off peacefully, they are likely to be well attended and may cause local disruption.
Today, travelers in Khartoum should minimize all movement, following reports of security forces using live ammunition against anti-government protesters in various locations across the city, including Berri and al-Manshiya districts.
Today, travelers should minimize non-essential movement in Sudan and defer all inbound travel to the country due to the potential for anti-government demonstrations. Following large protests in Khartoum and smaller gatherings across the country on Tuesday, December 25, there have been calls for protests after Friday prayers today. Although the calls seem to be uncoordinated, there is a credible risk of unrest given heightened tensions and an increased security force presence.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
A tsunami struck the coastal areas in the Sunda Strait region on Saturday, December 22. The western coast of Banten province, including Pandeglang and Serang regencies and the coast of South Lampung Regency, are the worst-affected areas. Additionally, volcanic eruptions in Anak Krakatau intensified in late December. Authorities advised the public to stay at least 0.3 miles away from the coastline of the Sunda Strait. Emergency response is underway. In addition to the limited ability to treat medical conditions, there is an increased risk of disease outbreaks, and potential food and water shortages. Travelers should avoid coastal areas, remain alert, and follow the advice of local authorities.
There have been no reports of any damage or casualties following a magnitude 6.1 earthquake at 12:03 PM local time today, 34 miles southeast of Manokwari; however, related information could still emerge as authorities conduct a full assessment of affected locations. According to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysical Agency (BMKG), the temblor occurred at a depth of 16 miles. Travelers should continue to follow all official directives amid the potential for aftershocks.
Travelers in Kazakhstan, including Astana, should reconfirm the status of routes and flights due to ongoing severe weather conditions. Severe frost has prompted authorities to impose movement restrictions on a number of highways across the country. Affected routes include those near Astana and the A13 Highway leading to Omsk, which remains closed since 5:00 PM local time on Tuesday, December 25. The restrictions are expected to remain in place through today. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries to minimize inconvenience.
A rise in dengue fever cases has been noted, and authorities have declared a dengue epidemic. 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.
A higher-than-usual number of meningococcal infections have been reported in the country. Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that can be rapidly life-threatening. Anyone can be affected, although it is more common in infants, teenagers and young adults. It spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Symptoms usually include fever, intense headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, vomiting, confusion, and a characteristic rash. It must be urgently treated with antibiotics. People who have been in close contact must also be promptly treated with antibiotics. Travelers should insure they are vaccinated prior to travel and pay strict attention to hygiene.
Today, travelers in Islamabad should plan journeys avoiding a rally organized by the Muslim Student Organization (MSO). Participants will gather at around 2:00 PM local time at Lal Masjid and proceed towards Aabpara Chowk. Additional security force personnel will be deployed to the affected areas. Local traffic disruption can be expected.
Travelers on the Visayas islands, as well as parts of Luzon and Mindanao islands, should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption during the passage of Tropical Depression Usman. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Usman may strengthen into a Tropical Storm before making landfall in Eastern Samar province tonight. Usman is then likely to pass through northern parts of Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and Palawan before exiting the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday, December 31.
Travelers in Songkhla and Hat Yai cities should exercise caution and expect heightened security over the New Year holiday period. Additional security personnel have been deployed following two minor bomb blasts at Samila Beach in Songkhla city on Wednesday, December 26 and the discovery of unexploded bombs in several districts, including one near Hat Yai. Vehicle inspections can also be expected at entry and exit points to popular tourist areas.
Today, as well as Thursday, January 3 and Friday, January 4, travelers in urban centers should plan itineraries accounting for possible disruption during nationwide protests over pension reforms. The demonstrations have been organized by pensioners’ unions opposed to a new budget law that would establish a pension revaluation mechanism. Most protests will start outside local prefecture buildings around 10:00 AM local time. While the gatherings are expected to pass off peacefully, they will likely cause local traffic disruption.
South Sudan: Republic Day
eSwatini: Incwala Day
Kazakhstan: Special Working Day
Mongolia: Independence Day
Ukraine: Special Working Day
Spain: Feast of the Holy Family
Philippines: Rizal Day
New Year’s Eve
Argentina: Bridge Public Holiday
Azerbaijan: World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day
Switzerland: Restoration Day
Japan: December 31 Bank Holiday
Kazakhstan: New Year (Extra Holiday)
Russia: Extra Holiday in lieu of
New Year’s Day
Cameroon: Independence Day
Cuba: Liberation Day
Czech Republic: Restoration of the
Czech Independence Day
Egypt: January 1 Bank Holiday
Pakistan: January 1 Bank Holiday
Sudan: Independence Day
Slovakia: Republic Day
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan,Bosnia & Herzegovina,Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova,Montenegro, Mauritius: New Year (Day 2)
Botswana: Public Holiday (January)
Canada: Day After New Year’s Day
Switzerland, Liechtenstein:Berchtold Day
China: New Year’s Weekend
Cuba: New Year Day
Haiti: Heroes’ Day/Ancestors’ Day
Japan: January 2 Bank Holiday
Saint Kitts & Nevis: Carnival Day
New Zealand, Romania, Samoa:Day after New Year’s Day
Serbia, Kosovo: Second Day of New Year’s Day
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Slovenia: New Year
United Kingdom: 2nd January
Armenia: New Year’s Day (Day 3)
Japan: January 3 Bank Holiday
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Armenia: New Year’s Day (Day 4)
Congo (DRC): Martyrs of Independence Day
Myanmar: Independence Day
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Sao Tome & Principe: Day of King Amador
Armenia: Armenian Christmas Eve
Vietnam: Working day for Dec. 31, 2018
Andorra, Austria, Australia,
Canada, Switzerland, Cuba,
Cyprus, Germany, Dominican
Republic, Spain, Finland, Greece,
Greenland, Croatia, Italy,
Liechtenstein, Poland, Puerto Rico,
Sweden, Slovakia, San Marino,
United Kingdom, United States,
Holy See (Vatican City): Epiphany
Armenia: Armenian Christmas Day
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Orthodox Christmas Eve
Bolivia, Honduras, Peru, Uruguay,
Venezuela: The Three Wise Men Day
Bhutan: Traditional Day of Offerings
Iraq: Army Day
Montenegro, Macedonia: Christmas Eve (Orthodox)
US Virgin Islands: Three Kings Day