Sri Lanka Terror Attacks: What Can We Learn?
On Easter Sunday, we witnessed a sophisticated and coordinated string of terrorist attacks across multiple locations in Sri Lanka, which left at least 250 people dead and 500 injured. The previously little-known group, National Thowheed Jamath, has since been accused of propagating the attack.
This attack was an example of the rising terror threat in Asia, with ISIS ideology being exported worldwide via the Internet as well as inspiring radical actors. Now, terrorism risk in Asia is more real than ever; even in countries that have typically been considered lower risk locations. The insights from Aon’s Terrorism and Political Violence Map
provide an essential overview of terrorism risk and other key trends in Asia.
These attacks hit home two key points:
- Any location where there is significant Western footfall or high profile Western brands are a target, such as Airports, Rail Stations, Hotels or Shopping malls.
- The impact of a major terrorist attack is long lasting. The tourism industry in Sri Lanka, which makes up a significant portion of national GDP is now set for a significant downturn over the medium term.
Our advice to concerned clients at this time is to consider the threat level in the territories which you operate in, as well as the adequacy of your current coverage. Hotels and Retail Outlets in Sri Lanka not physically impacted by these attacks will suffer significant revenue loss from these events for some time.
In situations like these, or active shooter / active assailant situations, traditional terrorism cover is unlikely to respond to the full extent of losses. If you’re concerned about the impact this event or other similar events may have on your employees, business or key stakeholders, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Julian Taylor, Head of Crisis Management, Asia, Aon, shared his views on CNBC
"There certainly were predictions that there would be ISIS-style attacks across Asia, but not in Sri Lanka… what this does highlight is that ISIS is almost an ideology now rather than just this threat of returning jihadist fighters from the Middle East, which I think was considered a threat; (it) doesn’t seem to have been the case in Sri Lanka. These weren’t returning jihadists; this was a locally inspired ideological attack and it seems to be ongoing, which is very worrying.
The actions of the security services will be scrutinised as will the preparedness of other countries across the region who consider themselves to be low risk. However, Sri Lanka does demonstrate that you don’t actually have to be necessarily a specific target to be a victim. You’ve got lots of businesses there, all will be affected by this terrorist attack. Hotels that are not directly related to the physical attack itself will be affected by the downturn in tourism.”