HT’s new travel advisory for diplomats, NGO, business and other smart travelers. We’re trial running a new column title, “Shipping Out”. Tell us what you think! Contact SafePro (below) if you have questions about travel and safety.
Adverse weather and public health developments dominated the travel risk landscape across Asia last week.
Monsoon rains in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh killed hundreds of people. In India, where the death toll climbed to at least 100, the regions of Assam and Bihar were the worst hit. The Mumbai building collapse that resulted in 14 deaths following heavy rain demonstrates the indirect yet fatal impact of monsoon rains, especially in dense urban areas with ageing infrastructure. Leisure travellers should keep this in mind when exploring the city. In Myanmar, nearly 20,000 people were evacuated, especially in Kachin and Rakhine states, from monsoon related floods.
East Asia joined South and Southeast Asia with rain-related concerns, as Danas (known in the Philippines as Falcon) threatened the northern Philippines, Taiwan’s east coast, and Okinawa. Although Danas had trouble deciding whether or not it wanted to be a typhoon or remain a tropical storm and also had trouble deciding on its path, heavy rain and wind were felt in parts of the Philippines in mid-week.
The Ring of Fire was restless with earthquakes too, as a powerful 7.3-magnitude quake struck North Maluku province (which some media referred to as a tourist hotspot) on 14 July, killing five, damaging 1,000 houses, and causing 3,000 people to seek temporary accommodations. In Bali, many tourists were terrified by an undersea magnitude 6.1 earthquake on 16 July that sent some of them fleeing their hotels.
Dengue Spreads in The Philippines
On 15 July, the Philippines declared a national dengue alert after 100,000 cases were reported across the country in the first six months of 2019, an increase of 85% on the same period last year.
Stay Safe the Week of 22-July
In India, authorities have noted that floods could worsen in certain regions, with heavy rain and further flooding expected over northeastern India. Flooding rain and strong winds from Danas will threaten northern Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Travel delays are likely.
Aftershocks from recent earthquakes in Indonesia are possible, so always be prepared to drop, cover, and hold.
Dengue in the Philippines is part of a global dengue spike, which in Asia includes an increasing number of cases in Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam. We strongly suggest travellers familiarise themselves with the latest dengue news from their destination and take appropriate preventative measures, though always consult a doctor before receiving a vaccination.
We’re closely watching recent days South China Sea activity that involves navies as well as oil and gas vessels. Multiple media outlets described a Royal Malaysia Navy’s missile test as a rare event, and this show of force could be an indicator of more nationalist reactions to come. While we’re not suggesting clients avoid visiting their vessels or platforms, or in Vietnam factories and industrial parks, now is a good time to revisit relevant security precautions for theSouth China Sea related unrest.
Hong Kong’s Security Bureau Outbound Travel Alert
The Hong Kong Security Bureau updated its Outbound Travel Alert (OTA), with travellers to Nepal advised to monitor the situation and exercise caution given recent rains, floods, and landslides. Although the OTA currently in force for Nepal is “amber”, the rains, floods and landslides are more serious than what we experience in Hong Kong under the Hong Kong Observatory’s amber rain alert. Don’t confuse the two.
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He has run The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, founded The Lion Rock Institute and has over 25 years engagement in media, politics, policy and community engagement.
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