Security Update: Fifa World CupJune 21, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
FIFA have announced it plans to beef up security around the Maracanã in Rio following the attempted breach by 87 un-ticketed Chilean fans. This is will come in the form of an increased presence of security forces as there is insufficient time to appropriately enhance security infrastructure. Be aware that this may cause further delays to getting into matches as cordons may be widened and more ticket checks put in place.
Today’s matches are in Belo Horizonte (22C, 81% humidity, slight chance of rain in the afternoon), Cuiaba (31C, 88% humidity and clear), and Fortaleza (30C, 88% humidity, Rain early, not for game time).
There have been no major fan safety incidents reported over the past few days and most of the wrinkles that arose in the first days of the tournament have now been ironed out. That said, be aware that problems may flare up very quickly if protestors choose to march and get violent.
A reminder of previous advice: take a photo of your tickets so if they get stolen, you can show them to security and the thieves can be arrested in the stadium.
Security Update: Fifa World CupJune 17, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
Fourteen games into the World Cup Finals and no serious incidents.
The big story yesterday was the weather, particularly the heavy rain in Natal that saw a month’s rain in the previous 48hrs causing flash flooding and landslides. Further heavy rains are forecast for many of the host cities in the coming week so don’t get caught out.
There haven’t been any serious security incidents concerning fans reported since the Finals got underway. There were several protests reported and the response by the police remains heavy handed. The escalation of force from verbal warnings, to tear gas, to non-lethal firearms can be rapid and dramatic. We strongly recommend avoiding these situations and leaving at the first sign of trouble.
Today’s games are in Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, and Cuiaba. Brazil vs Mexico will be a lively match. There’s no trouble anticipated anywhere but there is some heavy weather anticipated in Fortaleza and Cuiaba to be ready to get wet.
So Far, So Good!June 16, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
The big security event in the last 24hrs was a ‘bomb’ alert around the stadium in Manaus in the mid-morning. Initial reports indicate that a police dog alerted authorities to an unattended vehicle during a routine sweep of the area. After about two hours on site, the bomb squad concluded that the dog detected a residue of gunpowder.
Concerning spectator security, there was an alleged rape of an American Woman in Cuiaba on Friday that occurred at a local residence after the spectators returned there after late night celebrations. In the same city, several muggings were reported during the after-match celebrations, mostly involving tourists. There is no panacea for these events however, taking efforts to avoid threatening environments where you are isolated and without escape routes is always advised and keep some emergency cash and a list of phone numbers and/or address for your hotel separate from your wallet or bag.
There was report of English fans starting a fight mid afternoon in Manaus but every other countries fans seem to be well behaved, even where Colombians outnumber Greeks 10 to 1 in Belo Horizonte. A protest took place in Belo Horizonte before the match, a good distance away from the stadium where the police reacted with resolve to prevent the situation from getting beyond control. Expect these events to continue for the benefit of media consumption but they will be dealt with swiftly to prevent disruption to the tournament and spectators.
The surprise upset of Costa Rica over the tournaments first winners, Uruguay, was met with only celebration in Fortaleza. The most violence seen so far was when Pereira was dealt a red card for Uruguay in the 93rd minute.
Reporting indicates transport is working well throughout the country. Although there was a strike Natal on Friday where only 30% of the buses were running but organisers pulled it together to get spectators to the game using school buses. In other places, Sao Paulo, Manaus, and elsewhere, public transport appears up to the task although it remains difficult at times.
Today’s matches are in Porto Alegre, Brasilia, and Rio De Janeiro at the legendary Maracanã. Porto Alegre is one of the smaller host cities but has good infrastructure to get around, the town centre can appear a bit seedy and it has had an issue with crime so advice concerning situational awareness remains extant. Brasilia and Rio, the capital and the former capital respectively, are both more than capable of hosting world-class events and have the same problems seen in any big city. Big stadiums are rarely found in affluent neighbourhoods so take transport to and from the game and don’t hang around in the rough areas for a drink afterwards.
Security Review of BrazilJune 16, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
A full moon on Friday the 13th and the strangest thing to occur yesterday was a trouncing of the Spanish at the hands, or rather feet, of the Dutch.
As for security issues, there has been some concern raised over the security of stadiums where one reporter complained “…credentials were checked and his bag was scanned only one time before he entered the complex..”; this is similar to most sporting events and bags are only scanned once at international airports so I’m not quite sure what the concern is. Bags are being searched and tickets are being checked, this dramatically reduces the capacity of violence in the stadium. It is worth noting that Brazil does not have a population of ideologically motivated violent actors nor have they been recognised as a target for Islamic extremism so the likelihood of this event being targeted by terrorists is much lower than in London or Sochi during the Olympics.
Today’s matches are in Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Manaus, and Recife. All four cities make the UN top 50 most violent in the world with Manaus topping at number 11. The vast majority, like the crime in Mexico’s most dangerous cities as well as throughout Latin America, is due to large-scale organized crime. In fact, all of the cities are regarded as places to go by travel guides and backpackers.
The game likely to have problems, if any, is the England vs Italy match in Manaus. This is not due to nature of the city or security risk but rather the propensity for British football fans to drink too much and start trouble themselves. It is recommended to stay away from large groups of drunken men, regardless of affiliation, and not to drink too much altogether. Drunken people are targets for petty crime: mugging, express kidnapping, pickpocketing, etc.
Brazil World Cup Travel Advisory: Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Manaus and RecifeJune 13, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
Belo Horizonte is the capital city of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, which is located in the southeastern region of the country. As of 2013, the municipality’s population was 2,479,175, making it the most populous city in the Minas Gerais state and the 6th most populous city in Brazil.
Belo Horizonte has been classified as a “moderate” risk, due to the high crime rates that have occurred throughout the city. Travellers to the city are reminded to remain vigilant at all times, especially during major events including the upcoming World Cup, as thieves and local criminals will likely target tourists during this period.
The city has seen a recent surge in crime related to drugs. Travellers are therefore advised to avoid carrying expensive electronics, including cameras, notebooks, iPods or jewelry. You are also advised against walking alone at night. Keep in mind that muggings can occur at any time, day or night, and it is not uncommon to be mugged at traffic lights.
When crossing the street, you are advised to watch out for motorcycles as they can at times appear out of nowhere and often ignore stop signs.
Belo Horizonte is served by three airports:
- Tancredo Neves/Confins International Airport: It serves both domestic and international flights. It is located in the municipalities of Lagoa Santa and Confins, which is 38 kilometers (24 miles) from Belo Horizonta.
- Pampulha-Carlos Drummond de Andrade Airport: Dedicated to domestic traffic.
- Carlos Prates Airport: Dedicated to general aviation.
The city is connected to the rest of Minas Gerais state and the country by a number of roadways. The state of Minas Gerais has the country’s largest federal highway network.
- BR-040: Connects Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro, going south, and Brasília going northwest. It also links other cities in the state, including Juiz de Fora, Conselheiro Lafaiete, Barbacena, Sete Lagoas, and Paracatu.
- BR-262: This highway begins in Mato Grosso do Sul and ends in Espirio Santo, crossing Minas Gerais from west to east. It links Belo Horizonta to Pará de Minas, Araxá, Manhuaçu, Uberaba, Governador Valadares, and Vitória, the capital of Espírito Santo state.
- BR-381: This is an important federal highway as it connects Belo Horizonta to São Paulo.
- MG-010: This is a state highway that connects the capital to the Tancredo Neves International Airport.
Belo Horizonte is also served by other minor roads, including state highways MS-020, MG-050, MG-030 and MG-433. There is also an East-West Express Way, which goes from the city to the nearby industrial centers of Contagem and Betim.
The bus system in Belo Horizonte has a large number of bus lines that go through all the parts in the city.
Belo Horizonte Metro, or MetroBH, has one line, with 19 stations from Vilarinho to Eldorado Station, in Contagem.
Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, which is located in northeastern Brazil. With a population close to 2.55 million, Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil.
The crime rate in Fortaleza has increased in the past few years. Although most of the commercial districts throughout the city are fairly safe, including the center and the tourist area around Beira Mar, pickpocketing, bag-snatching and other non-violent robberies have occurred in the past. MS Risk advises all travellers to remain vigilant at all times and to never display any valuables.
Praia do Futuro is bordered by one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Foratleza, Serviluz. MS Risk advises all travellers to not walk through the deserted areas of this beach, even if you are moving between two crowded places. Bus stops in this area are known to be targeted by robbers after sunset.
Fortaleza International Airport is the main airport in the city.
MetroFor is composed of 43 kilometers (27 miles) of rapid transit system in the city of Fortaleza. The rapid transit system has twenty-eight stations: 18 on the south line, four of which are underground; and 10 on the west line beyond the central station.
Manaus is the capital city of the state of Amazonas in northern Brazil. It is located on the north bank of the Negro River, 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers. Due to its location in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, access to the city is primarily through boat or airplane. As of 2014, the city’s population is 1.9 million, making it the most populous in the Brazilian Amazon area and the 7th most populous in the country.
While Manaus is fairly safe, MS Risk advises all travellers to remain vigilant at all times. Always avoid deserted streets, especially after dark.
Eduardo Gomes International is the airport that serves Manaus. The airport has two passenger terminals, one for scheduled flights and the other for regional aviation. It also has three cargo terminals.
There are two federal highways that connect Manaus with the rest of the country. There is a paved road that heads north, BR-174, and which connects Manaus to Boa Vista, the capital of the State of Roraima, and to Venezuela. The BR-319 heads south and connects Manaus to Port Velho, the state capital ofRondônia. Access to this highway however requires a ferry crossing to Careiro, across the Rio Negro and River Amazon, which take about forty minutes. BR-319 is only paved for about 100 kilometers (62 miles) to Castanho. After that, the highway is not paved and cannot be used.
The two major state highways are the AM-010 and the AM-070. The AM-010 heads east, to Itacoatiara, Amazonas at the banks of the River Amazon. The AM-070 heads south and reaches Manacapuru, which lies at the banks of the Solimoes River. Both roads are paved and operate all year round.
Recife is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Brazil. The city is located where the Berberibe River meets the Capibaribe River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a major port on the Atlantic Ocean.
As in Rio de Janeiro, tourists in Recife are advised to take special care while on the beaches, as robberies may occur at any time, even in broad daylight.
In the upscale Boa Viagem neighborhood, carjackings can occur at any time of the day or night.
Guararapes International Airport, also known as Gilberto Freyre International Airport, is the airport that serves Recife.
Recife metropolitan area is cross by four main highways
- BR-101 North:Paraíba and Rio Grande do Norte
- BR-101 South:Alagoas, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul;
- BR-232 West:Gravatá, Caruaru, Belo Jardim, Arcoverde, Salgueiro and Parnamirim;
- BR-408 Northwest:Carpina, Timbaúba and Campina Grande;
The Recife Metro currently has twenty-eight stations and is 44.2 kilometers (27.5 miles) long. It is formed by the Central line, which is further divided into two lines, and the South line.