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Security Brief: EMH2 Week of November 22, 2021

Week of Monday, November 22, 2021 | Issue 37

Alyssa Schmidt, Benjamin Maher, Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards Team

Cassandra Townsend, Senior Editor


Gold Mine[1]


Date: November 23, 2021

Location: Bosnek, Bulgaria

Parties involved: Bulgarian Government; North Macedonian Government; Transport companies; Tourism Industry; Ministry of Transport in Macedonia; North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev

The event: Around 0200 local time, a bus from North Macedonia crashed into the road divider in Bulgaria either before or after catching fire.[2] There were at least 45 fatalities and some injured individuals that were able to escape the vehicle.[3] The cause of the crash is under investigation but human error and technical malfunctions are the primary theories.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The incident could likely increase the risk of friction between authorities in Bulgaria and North Macedonia. North Macedonia will likely blame road quality and safety measures to seek compensation which could increase tensions between the countries. It is likely that tourist buses will begin to use alternative routes; businesses and service providers on original routes could suffer from less traffic as there will likely be less customers. This will likely increase the risk of business closures and unemployment, so authorities will likely need to improve transport routes and support local services.

  • It is likely that if the confirmed cause of accident is human error or technical malfunction that the Department of Transportation will very likely begin implementing stricter training for drivers and assess knowledge of routes taken. Local police departments will likely investigate checks prior to departure, such as checking brake lines and lights, which will likely decrease the likelihood of crashes in the future, but likely increase costs of operation. The increase of ticket prices will likely limit accessibility of this mode of transport for some civilians.

  • Authorities will likely streamline the investigation process to rule out malicious intent. If the incident was caused by an explosive or purposeful sabotage, it is likely that communities will seek to find if it could have been a targeted attack. This will likely create the risk of the community dividing and increase the threat of protests. If the accident wasn’t a result of malicious intent, there is likely a risk for protests to occur.

  • It is likely that other users of the transport links will evaluate the safety of using similar roads. If businesses transporting essential goods decide to find alternative routes, it will likely slow access to imperative foods and services, creating scarcity and increasing the risk of inflation. The government will likely need to ensure safety measures in order to continue servicing specific parts of the country.

Date: November 26, 2021

Location: Siberia, Russia

Parties involved: Russian Government; Siberian Business Union; Regulatory Mining Bodies; International Mining Operations; Manufacturers

The event: There were at least 52 fatalities when a gas leak occurred in a mine. A potential cause of this incident is that safety procedures were not followed throughout the company, which must be investigated and could result in arrests. There have been reports of multiple mining emergencies for years in Russia. Emergency management procedures will be examined and the Russian government will turn focus to key regulatory bodies.[5]

The implications:

  • Production will likely be slowed in mines until updated emergency procedures are finalized. It is likely that authorities will use the death of the six rescue miners to examine how current rescue methods do not meet the safety assurances needed for contemporary mining operations; it is very likely improved research and practices will save lives of miners in the future and create a safer working environment. New emergency planning is likely to increase operational costs and may result in inflation of raw materials.

  • It is likely that regulatory bodies that look after mining policies in Russia, such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, will create stricter safety measures and reporting schedules in mining operations throughout the country to ensure there are no unsafe practices in mining. This is likely to slow operations and may result in a decline of production. Russian manufacturers and international sales will likely be impacted by a scarcity of raw materials. It is likely that Russian authorities will need to find avenues to simultaneously ensure miner safety and large scale production.

  • If industrial safety rules were ignored, the families of affected miners will likely seek compensation for the injuries and deaths of miners. It is unlikely that the SDS-Holding mine, owned by the privately held Siberian Business Union, is able to decline responsibility. The event is likely to affect sales to private manufacturers that seek materials from mines with a history of fair labor and of following environmental regulations.

  • It is likely that global mining companies will examine the event to understand the risks associated with their own operations. It is very likely that global regulatory systems will increase safety procedures and emergency management planning systems. It is unlikely that mining operations will be affected on an international scale, but there will likely be more costs and investigations, likely leading to higher prices of raw materials. If manufacturers decide to seek materials from outside of Russia, it will likely increase demand from international mining companies.

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[1]Gold Mine” by Andrew Kuznetsov licensed under Creative Commons

[2] North Macedonian tourist bus crashes in flames in Bulgaria, killing 45, Reuters, November 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/north-macedonian-tourist-bus-crashes-flames-bulgaria-killing-45-2021-11-23/

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Death toll in Russian mine tragedy jumps past 50, Reuters, November 2021, https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/dozens-remain-trapped-russian-mine-after-fire-2021-11-25/

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