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Travel Updates and Advisories

We post frequent travel warnings and advisories to update our customers about current safety concerns and dangers in countries around the world. Travel updates include air ticket specials, baggage allowance, hotels, holiday packages, visa requirements, weather conditions, political situations and travel insurance.

25 September 2017

AFGHANISTAN (Security threat level – 5)

CAR BOMB TARGETS FOREIGN MILITARY CONVOY IN KABUL

On the morning of 24 September 2017, a car bombing targeted a Danish military convoy in Kabul’s fifth police district. Reports stated that five civilians were wounded in the attack, but none of the military personnel suffered injuries. An official for the NATO’s mission in Afghanistan confirmed the attack and stated that a military squad was at the scene to recover the vehicle. (24 Sep 2017)

AUSTRALIA (Security threat level – 2)

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL MALFUNCTION CAUSES DELAYS AT SYDNEY AIRPORT

On 24 September 2017, a system error at the Sydney Airport (YSSY/SYD) caused major delays beginning at 0500 local time (1900 UTC). The technical issues were quickly resolved, but delays continued throughout the day. (24 Sep 2017)

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (Security threat level – 1)

AUTHORITIES AMEND NIGHTTIME CURFEW HOURS IN BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

On 23 September 2017, the National Emergency Operations Committee (NEOC) reduced the nighttime curfew hours in the British Virgin Islands; the curfew will be in effect from 2000-0600 local time (0000-1000 UTC) every day until further notice. The daily curfew went into effect on 8 September, following reports of looting in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. (23 Sep 2017)

U.K. FCO ISSUES UPDATED TRAVEL ADVICE FOR BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

On 22 September 2017, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice for the British Virgin Islands, which reads in part as follows: “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advise against all but essential travel to the British Virgin Islands; Hurricane Maria has now passed BVI, but it added to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The local authorities introduced a curfew from 6pm on Monday 18 September, which currently remains in force. You should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities.” (22 Sep 2017)

CAMEROON (Security threat level – 4)

EXPLOSION OCCURS IN DOUALA

On the morning of 22 September 2017, an explosive device detonated near the Société Camerounaise de Dépôts Pétroliers (SCDP) and the Mboppi market. Two blasts occurred when the homemade explosive device — which was made from a gas bottle and two motorcycle batteries — detonated. No fatalities or injuries were reported as a result of the blasts. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which authorities labeled a “criminal” incident. (22 Sep 2017)

THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE IN ANGLOPHONE CAMEROON

On 22 September 2017, thousands of protesters marched in Bamenda, Buea and other cities in Cameroon’s Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions. Protesters — who included children, as well as separatist activists — chanted anti-government slogans and called for the release of imprisoned English-speaking activists. Additionally, groups of protesters hoisted white and blue flags, which are a symbol of their emancipation. Security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters in Bamenda and Buea; there are unconfirmed reports that injuries occurred. (22 Sep 2017)

COLOMBIA (Security threat level – 4)

POLICE OFFICERS SEIZE COCAINE AT BANANA PLANTATION IN ANTIOQUIA PROVINCE

On 22 September 2017, police officers conducted a raid at a banana plantation in the northwestern Colombian province of Antioquia and seized approximately 7 metric tons of cocaine, which has a street value of more than 200 million U.S. dollars. Security officials stated that smugglers would have transported the cocaine, disguised as a banana and fruit freight consignment, to Central America, and then to the U.S. At least five individuals were detained during the raid. The consignment reportedly belonged to the Golfo or Usuga Clan, a criminal group involved in drug trafficking and illegal mining, which recently expressed an in interest in surrendering to the government. (22 Sep 2017)

CUBA (Security threat level – 1)

U.K. FCO ISSUES UPDATED TRAVEL ADVICE FOR CUBA

On 23 September 2017, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Cuba, which reads in part as follows:

“The central northern coast of Cuba has been badly damaged following Hurricane Irma, including the Cayos region and airport, although the government is working to restore services before the main tourist season in November. Many towns in Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Villa Clara and Matanzas provinces were also severely affected. Communication is gradually being restored across provinces Havana and many other tourist areas are operating normally including main roads to provinces and most bus services and airports.” (23 Sep 2017)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Security threat level – 3)

U.K. FCO UPDATES TRAVEL ADVICE FOR DOMINICAN REPUBLIC REGARDING HURRICANE MARIA

On 23 September 2017, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an updated travel advisory for the Dominican Republic that reads in part as follows:

“Hurricane Irma passed the north coast of the Dominican Republic on 8 September 2017 and Hurricane Maria on 21 September. There was some local flooding and damage to buildings in the north and east. However there are no reports of serious damage to hotels or tourist infrastructure.

“You should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders. Some disruption to flights is expected following Hurricane Maria – you should contact your tour operator or airline for more information. The Dominican Republic Disaster Management Agency (COE) will continue to publish updates on social media (in Spanish).

“The British Embassy Santo Domingo will post information in English on its Twitter and Facebook accounts.” (23 Sep 2017)

FRANCE (Security threat level – 3)

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE MARCH AGAINST LABOR REFORM LAW IN PARIS

On 23 September 2017, thousands of demonstrators gathered at the Place de Bastille and marched through eastern Paris to Place de la République to protest the labor reform law enacted a day earlier. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the far-left group France Insoumise, headed the rally. Organizers claimed that approximately 150,000 people took part, while police officials estimated that 30,000 protesters participated in the march. Additional demonstrations against the labor reform law are likely to occur in France in the coming days. (23 Sep 2017)

U.S. EMBASSY IN PARIS ISSUES SECURITY MESSAGE REGARDING UPCOMING DEMONSTRATIONS AND STRIKES

On 22 September 2017, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Security Message regarding upcoming demonstrations and strikes that reads in part as follows:

“The U.S. Embassy in France informs U.S. citizens that a potentially large demonstration is planned on Saturday, September 23 at the Place de la Bastille in Paris beginning at 2:00 p.m.

“U.S. citizens are further advised that rolling labor strikes and additional demonstrations may be organized in Paris and around major cities in France throughout the coming weeks and could disrupt transportation services, including trains, commuter lines, and possibly services provided by Air France.

“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

“U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.” (22 Sep 2017)

GERMANY (Security threat level – 3)

GERMAN CHANCELLOR WINS REELECTION

On 24 September 2017, exit polls showed that incumbent German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) won a plurality of the votes in Germany’s national elections. The CDU/CSU won approximately 33.5 percent of the vote, while the Social Democratic Party (SDP) won 20 percent. The far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) won 13 percent of the vote, achieving seats in parliament for the first time since its founding in 2013. (24 Sep 2017)

PROTESTERS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST PLANNED STEEL MERGER IN BOCHUM

On 22 September 2017, approximately 7,000 protesters demonstrated against the planned merger of Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel. There were no reports of violence and the protest did not cause travel disruptions. (22 Sep 2017)

GUINEA (Security threat level – 4)

RIOTERS IN BOKE BURN DOWN POLICE BUILDINGS AND CLASH WITH SECURITY FORCES

On 21 September 2017, hundreds of rioters burned down a police and gendarmerie building in the western Guinea town of Boke. The rioters clashed with security forces, leaving 17 people injured. The rioting was carried out by youths who claimed that bauxite mining operations in Boke had led to a lack of employment and services, such as water and electricity, as well as pollution. This is the latest instance of rioting in Boke over the last several days. (21 Sep 2017)

 INDONESIA (Security threat level – 4)

VOLCANO EXCLUSION ZONE EXTENDED ON BALI

On 22 September 2017, Indonesian authorities extended to 12 km (7.5 mi) the exclusion zone around the Mount Agung volcano, located on Bali Island, and upgraded to the alert status to its highest level. Approximately 35,000 people have been evacuated thus far. Air traffic in Bali is operating normally at this time. (24 Sep 2017)

BALI VOLCANO ALERT RAISED TO HIGHEST LEVEL, INDICATING THAT ERUPTION IS POSSIBLE

On 23 September 2017, Indonesian authorities raised the alert level for the Mount Agung volcano to its highest level (level 4). This alert level indicates that an eruption is possible. Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency has set up an exclusion zone, which extends between 9-12 km (5.5-7.5 mi) from the crater. Travelers to Bali — where the volcano is located — should abide by this exclusion zone. This is the third time within a little more than a week that the volcano’s alert level has been raised. Indonesia’s Department of Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics reported that there has been a “tremendous increase” in seismic activity at the volcano, indicating an increased likelihood of an eruption, although they gave no time frame on when this would occur. Travelers to Bali should be aware that an eruption could cause an ash cloud that would disrupt aircraft flights; in the event of an eruption, travelers should confirm their travel arrangements prior to heading to the airport. (23 Sep 2017)

IRAQ (Security threat level – 5)

IRAQI GOVERNMENT DEMANDS KURDISH GOVERNMENT SURRENDER CONTROL OF AIRPORTS, BORDER CROSSINGS

On 24 September 2017, the Iraqi government formally demanded that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) turn over control of all border crossings and airport facilities to the Iraqi central government. The central government also requested that foreign countries suspend buying oil from the KRG in light of the upcoming independence referendum. (24 Sep 2017)

IRAQ / IRAN (Security threat levels – 5 / 3)

IRAN CLOSES AIRSPACE TO KURDISH FLIGHTS

On 24 September 2017, the Iranian government banned all flights originating from airports in the Iraqi Kurdistan region from entering Iranian airspace. The ban includes flights from Erbil International Airport (ORER/EBL) and Sulaymaniyah (ORSU/ISU). Reports indicate that the Iranian government issued the ban in response to a request from the Iraqi central government ahead of the Kurdish independence referendum scheduled for 25 September. (24 Sep 2017)

JAPAN (Security threat level – 1)

PRIME MINISTER SET TO DISSOLVE LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT AND HOLD NEW ELECTIONS

According to high-ranking member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), on 25 September 2017, Japan’s prime minister announced plans to dissolve the lower house of parliament on 28 September. This will allow for snap elections at a later date. (25 Sep 2017)

DEBRIS FROM COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT DAMAGES CAR IN OSAKA

On 24 September 2017, a wing panel from a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 fell off shortly after departure from Kansai International Airport (RJBB/KIX) and damaged a car. No injuries were reported, and the aircraft arrived safely at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport No further details are available regarding the incident. (24 Sep 2017)

LESSER ANTILLES (Security threat level – 1)

U.K. FCO ISSUES UPDATED TRAVEL ADVICE FOR ISLAND OF DOMINICA

On 23 September 2017, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an updated travel advice for the island of Dominica, which reads in part as follows:

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against all but essential travel to Dominica. Hurricane Maria passed over Dominica on 19 September 2017 and initial reports indicate widespread damage to buildings, infrastructure and communications. The airport is closed, however, we understand that some commercial ferry options may be available. If you’re in Dominica, you should exercise caution and continue to follow the advice of the local authorities. If you’re planning to travel to Dominica, you should consider your plans very carefully and have your own contingency plans in place. If you decide to travel, our ability to assist you is likely to be very limited.” (23 Sep 2017)

U.K. FCO ISSUES UPDATED TRAVEL ADVICE FOR TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

On 23 September 2017, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an updated travel advisory or Turks and Caicos Islands that reads in part as follows: “The Turks and Caicos Islands were severely impacted by the landfall of Hurricane Irma on 7 September 2017 and further impacted by Hurricane Maria on 22 September. Communications have been damaged in the region, including in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Commercial flights have resumed in and out of Providenciales. You should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

“If you are considering travelling to the Turks and Caicos Islands, you should plan very carefully and ensure that you have your own contingency measures in place. There has been widespread damage to infrastructure and communications with many homes and buildings damaged. Access to medical supplies, food and water are limited and power supplies have been affected. Please be aware that our ability to provide assistance to you will be extremely limited. If you are in the Turks and Caicos Islands, you should keep your departure options under regular review.

“The hotline for British people affected or concerned about others is +44 (0)20 7008 0000.” (23 Sep 2017)

LIBYA (Security threat level – 5)

U.S. AIRSTRIKES TARGET ISLAMIC STATE IN LIBYA

On 24 September 2017, the U.S. Africa Command stated that on 22 September U.S. military aircraft targeted an Islamic State (IS) training camp located 240 km (150 mi) southeast of Sirte. According to the statement, 17 IS fighters and three vehicles were destroyed. This is the first U.S. airstrike in Libya since Donald Trump became president. (24 Sep 2017)

MALAWI (Security threat level – 3)

U.S. EMBASSY INFORMS OF CONSULAR STAFF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS TO MULANJE DISTRICT

On 22 September 2017, the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe issued a Security Message that reads in part as follows:

“The United States Embassy in Lilongwe is temporarily prohibiting its staff from traveling to Malawi’s Mulanje District out of an abundance of caution due to ongoing violence and tensions related to persistent rumors of attacks by human “bloodsuckers” in the villages in the area that have led to acts of vigilante justice. The Malawi Police Service reports that since September 15, 2017, there have been at least three separate attacks on visitors to the Mount Mulanje area by local residents and multiple instances of threats and acts of intimidation.

“The Malawi Police Service has repeatedly stated that rumors of “bloodsuckers” in Mulanje District are false. Nonetheless, tensions remain high and there is no indication that they will ease in the near future. There are additional reports of villagers sleeping outdoors to ward off potential attacks and villagers who are forming vigilante night patrols to seek out potential “bloodsuckers.”

“We strongly encourage you to exercise caution if traveling to the area. Please review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.” (22 Sep 2017)

MALDIVES (Security threat level – 2)

OFFICIALS HEIGHTEN SECURITY MEASURES AT VELANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Reports on 23 September 2017 stated that Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) personnel have begun operating at Malé’s Velana International Airport (VRMM/MLE) in an effort to heighten security measures. While the MNDF personnel maintained the security perimeter, armed servicemen were hitherto not stationed inside the airport. The country’s defense minister stated that the deployment was in response to past attacks targeting airports elsewhere in the world; however, there is no evidence of an imminent threat of a terrorist attack in the Maldives. (23 Sep 2017)

MALI (Security threat level – 5)

ROADSIDE BOMB TARGETS U.N. PEACEKEEPERS

On 24 September 2017, Malian militants ambushed a group of Bangladeshi peacekeepers with an improvised explosive device (IED) on the road between Anefis and Gau, located in northern Mali. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed three Bangladeshi peacekeepers and seriously injured five others. (24 Sep 2017)

MEXICO (Security threat level – 4)

EARTHQUAKE STRIKES OFF MEXICAN COAST

On 24 September 2017 at approximately 0506 local time (1006 UTC), an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 occurred at a depth of 60 km (40 mi) off the western coast of Mexico. There were no reports of damage onshore and no tsunami warning. (24 Sep 2017)

TROPICAL STORM PILAR MOVES ALONG MEXICO’S WESTERN COAST

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, as of 0300 UTC on 24 September 2017 Tropical Storm Pilar was located approximately 155 km (95 mi) south of Mazatlan, Mexico, or 35 km (20 mi) north-northeast of Las Islas Marias, Mexico. At that time, Pilar was moving north at 15 kph (9 mph) with maximum sustained winds of 65 kph (40 mph). Pilar is expected to move along the west coast of Nayarit and Sinaloa states over a period of 48 hours. It is expected to downgrade to a tropical depression on 25 September and dissipate by 26 September. (24 Sep 2017)

SHALLOW 6.1 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE STRIKES OAXACA STATE

At approximately 0753 local time (1253 UTC) on 23 September 2017, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the state of Oaxaca, approximately 18 km (11 mi) south-southeast of Matias Romero. The quake had a depth of 9 km (6 mi). Reports indicate that shaking was felt in Mexico City and Oaxaca. The quake damaged structures and caused a bridge in the state to collapse. (23 Sep 2017)

MOLDOVA (Security threat level – 3)

SUPPORTERS OF PRESIDENT EXPECTED TO HOLD DEMONSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT MOLDOVA ON 24 SEPTEMBER

On 24 September 2017, demonstrators will gather in the cities of Anenii Noi, Balti and Cahul in support of President Igor Dodon after Moldova’s Constitutional Court annulled a decree signed by Dodon setting a date for a referendum that, if passed, would have allowed Dodon to dissolve parliament and call for early elections. The demonstrations are taking place on the day the referendum would have been held if the Constitutional Court had not annulled the event. However, Dodon has stated that protests are not scheduled to take place in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital. The president is pro-Russian, but Moldova’s parliament is led by a pro-Western faction. (22 Sep 2017)

NEW ZEALAND (Security threat level – 1)

MAJOR PARTIES SEEK TO FORM NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT FOLLOWING GENERAL ELECTION

On 23 September 2017, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Bill English claimed victory in the general election after his ruling National Party secured 46 percent of the vote. However, the leader of the opposition Labor Party has not conceded defeat, despite trailing the governing party with approximately 36 percent vote. The election has resulted in a hung parliament, in which neither party has a simple majority; thus, both parties are seeking to form a coalition with the nationalist New Zealand First party to secure the majority required to form the government. Meanwhile, special votes, which include overseas votes and account for nearly 15 percent of the total, are yet to be tallied. The final outcome is due by 7 October. (23 Sep 2017)

NORTH KOREA (Security threat level – 3)

NORTH KOREAN LEADERS ISSUE RARE DIRECT THREAT AGAINST U.S.

On 22 September 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un contributed to heightened rhetoric surrounding his nuclear weapons program by issuing a rare direct statement against U.S. President Donald Trump. In what analysts have interpreted as an “eye for an eye” tactic against the U.S., Kim’s statement — written in first person — promised to consider the “highest-level” of countermeasures, including the option of a military attack on the U.S.; the rhetoric follows President Trump’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in which he stated that the U.S. could destroy the North Korean regime. At the UNGA, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho expanded upon Kim’s statement by saying that North Korea may consider conducting a hydrogen bomb test on or over the Pacific Ocean; however, nonproliferation experts contend that this move is unlikely in the near-term due to substantial technical and diplomatic risks. (22 Sep 2017)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA (Security threat level – 4)

FIRE ENGULFS SUPERMARKET ON MANUS ISLAND

On the morning of 22 September 2017, a fire broke out at a supermarket in Lorengau town, located on Manus Island, and quickly engulfed the building. The mishap killed 10 Chinese immigrants who belonged to the same family that owned the store. While the blaze reportedly originated inside the facility, the cause of the fire remains unknown. (22 Sep 2017)

PUERTO RICO (Security threat level – 2)

GUAJATACA DAM FAILURE FORCES EVACUATION OF NEARBY RESIDENTS IN NORTHWESTERN PUERTO RICO

On 23 September 2017, authorities in Puerto Rico were evacuating approximately 70,000 people from a river valley located below the failing Guajataca Dam in northwestern Puerto Rico. The governor of the island has mobilized military personnel to aid police officers in the evacuation of affected areas, including Isabela and Quebradillas municipalities; residents were being transported to higher ground in buses. An emergency official stated that the dam is certainly going to collapse within the next few days. (23 Sep 2017)

GUAJATACA DAM FAILURE MAY CAUSE FLASH FLOODS

On 22 September 2017, officials issued a flash flood emergency warning for Isabela and Quebradillas municipalities due to the failure of the Guajataca Dam in western Puerto Rico. The two municipalities under threat are located approximately 110 km (70 mi) west of San Juan. Emergency evacuations are underway in the affected areas. (22 Sep 2017)

PUERTO RICO / LESSER ANTILLES (Security threat levels – 2 / 1)

UPDATE ON CONDITIONS IN PUERTO RICO AND U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

A curfew is in effect for Puerto Rico between 1900 and 0500 local time until further notice. San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (TJSJ/SJU) is open with limited commercial operations. The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands has suspended the curfew between 1200-1600 local time on 25 September for the island of St. Croix; authorities have reduced the curfew for the islands of St. Thomas, St. John and Water to 18 hours in order to allow individuals on the islands to obtain supplies. Reports indicate that St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (TISX/STX) will be closed until 5 October except to military and relief aircraft. Additionally, commercial operations at St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King Airport (TIST/STT) are not anticipated to resume until 30 September, but military and relief aircraft are operating. (25 Sep 2017)

RUSSIA (Security threat level – 3)

ANONYMOUS BOMB THREATS CONTINUE

On 22 September 2017, authorities evacuated hundreds of students and teachers from four schools and two universities in Makhachkala, the capital of the North Caucasus’ Dagestan republic, after receiving an anonymous bomb threat over the phone. After receiving similar threats, authorities in Vladikavkaz, the capital of the North Caucasus’ North Ossetia republic, evacuated hundreds of people from 18 buildings on 21 and 22 September as well. Also on 22 September, authorities evacuated people from 20 buildings in Moscow due to bomb threats.

Since 10 September, authorities have evacuated tens of thousands of people from various buildings across Russia due to a wave of anonymous bomb threats. However, no explosive devices have been found at any of the buildings targeted in the threats. (22 Sep 2017)

HUNDREDS GATHER IN UFA TO DEMAND RESIGNATION OF BASHKORTOSTAN LEADER

On 21 September 2017, approximately 700 protesters gathered in Ufa, the capital city of Russia’s Bashkortostan republic, to demand the resignation of Bashkortostan’s leader, Rustem Khamitov. The protesters held posters outlining their grievances, which included declining living standards, ethnic tensions and environmental issues. The demonstration was not approved by authorities ahead of time, and police officers detained eight of the protesters for participating in an unsanctioned gathering. On 16 September approximately 1,000 protesters held a similar unsanctioned demonstration in the city. (21 Sep 2017)

SOUTH AFRICA (Security threat level – 3)

U.S. EMBASSY WARNS OF NATIONWIDE STRIKE ON 27 SEPTEMBER

On 22 September 2017, the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria issued a Security Message, which reads in part as follows:

“The U.S. Mission informs U.S. citizens in South Africa that the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) announced plans to embark upon a national strike on September 27, 2017 over State Capture and corruption. Planned deployments are outlined below.

“U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor local media prior to travel, avoid any reported conflict areas, and allow extra time to reach your destination. Remember that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Always avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests.”

The full text of the warning can be viewed here. (22 Sep 2017)

SOUTH PACIFIC ISLANDS (Security threat level – 1)

AUTHORITIES DECLARE STATE OF EMERGENCY AMID VOLCANIC ERUPTION IN VANUATU

On 25 September 2017, authorities in Vanuatu declared a state of emergency amid volcanic eruption on Ambae Island and were evacuating at least 5,000 people. Individuals residing in the island’s northern and southern parts were being transported to eastern and western Vanuatu in vehicles and water vessels. The country’s Geohazards Department raised its alert to level four — the second-highest level in a five-tier system — indicating a “moderate eruption state” of Ambae volcano (locally known as Manaro Voui) on 23 September, after the volcano spewed ash across most of the 400 sq. km (150 sq. mi) island. (25 Sep 2017)

INTENSIFIED VOLCANIC ACTIVITY PROMPTS EVACUATION IN VANUATU

On 23 September 2017, emergency officials in Vanuatu were planning to evacuate approximately 5,000 people due to the intensification of volcanic eruption on Ambae Island. The country’s Geohazards Department raised its alert to level four — the second-highest level — indicating a “moderate eruption state” of Ambae volcano (locally known as Manaro Voui). The volcano has discharged ash across most of Ambae, and the ash-fall is anticipated to affect the entire island. Individuals on the island should heed direction of local officials and those who have immediate travel plans to Ambae should consider modifying their itineraries. (23 Sep 2017)

PILOTS’ STRIKE DISRUPTS FLIGHT OPERATIONS IN NEW CALEDONIA

An open-ended pilots’ strike continued as of 23 September 2017, disrupting operations of Air Calin, New Caledonia’s international airline. The labor action, which started on 21 September due to an ongoing dispute over wages and benefits, has forced the cancellation of multiple international flights. Operating flights were experiencing delays. Individuals who are scheduled to travel on Air Calin should contact the airline to check the status of their flights. (23 Sep 2017)

SPAIN (Security threat level – 3)

U.K. FCO ISSUES UPDATED TRAVEL ADVICE FOR SPAIN

On 22 September 2017, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Spain, which reads in part as follows:

“Demonstrations have taken place in Barcelona and other areas of the Catalonia region and may continue for some days; this may cause some disruption and delays to transport services.” (22 Sep 2017)

TURKEY (Security threat level – 4)

U.S. CONSULATE IN ADANA ISSUES SECURITY MESSAGE REGARDING UPCOMING DEMONSTRATION

On 22 September 2017, the U.S. Consulate in Adana issued a Security Message regarding an upcoming demonstration that reads in part as follows:

“U.S. Consulate Adana informs U.S. citizens that a demonstration is expected to take place at the Ugur Mumcu Square (Train Station Square) in Adana, at approximately 15:00 on Sunday, September 24, 2017. Halklarin Demokratik Partisi (HDP) will hold the demonstration. The demonstration is expected to be well attended. Road closures are likely to start in advance of the demonstration.

“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.” (22 Sep 2017)

UNITED KINGDOM (Security threat level – 3)

SUSPECTED ACID ATTACK CAUSES MULTIPLE INJURIES IN EASTERN LONDON

On the night of 23 September 2017, a group of assailants sprayed a toxic substance on individuals near Stratford Center in eastern London. More than five people were injured in the attack, and police officers detained at least one suspect. Officials do not believe that the incident is terrorism-related, but they released no information on the possible motive. (23 Sep 2017)

UNITED STATES (Security threat level – 2)

HURRICANE MARIA STILL ACTIVE OFF THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. COAST

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, as of 0900 UTC on 25 September 2017, Hurricane Maria was located approximately 350 mi (560 km) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving in a northerly direction at a speed of 7 mph (11 kph). At that point, Maria was posting maximum sustained winds of approximately 80 mph (130 kph) with higher gusts. On the current track, the eye of the storm is forecast to pass well east of the southeastern coast of the United States on 26 September. Maria is expected to gradually weaken over the next 48 hours.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Cape Lookout to Duck, Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for north of Duck to the North Carolina/Virginia border and north of Surf City to south of Cape Lookout. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Cape Lookout to Duck. (25 Sep 2017)

PROTESTERS VIOLENTLY EJECTED FROM TURKISH PRESIDENT’S SPEECH IN NEW YORK CITY

On 22 September 2017, men in suits violently ejected protesters who heckled Turkish President Recep Erdogan while he was giving a speech at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City’s Times Square. It remains unclear if the men who removed the protesters were pro-Erdogan attendees, presidential bodyguards, or hotel security. The protesters later claimed that their goal was to condemn President Erdogan’s policies in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Five protesters were briefly detained following the incident but were then subsequently released. (22 Sep 2017)

VIETNAM (Security threat level – 3)

TREATMENT-RESISTANT STRAIN OF MALARIA DETECTED IN VIETNAM

On 22 September 2017, health experts stated that they had detected a treatment-resistant strain of malaria in Vietnam for the first time. According to the head of the malaria unit at Bangkok’s Mahidol University, the strain was originally detected in Cambodia in 2007, after which it spread to northeastern Thailand, southern Laos and eastern Myanmar. Specialists are reportedly concerned about the disease’s potential spread to India and Africa, where resistant strains of malaria killed millions of people in the 1950s and 60s. Preventive action will require malaria workers to deploy to even the most remote areas of the Southeast Asia region where they will work to contain the disease in its early stages. (22 Sep 2017)

THREAT LEVEL DEFINITIONS

  1. Crime Rate Risk Level 1: Visitors are exposed to a minimum degree of risk due to crime. This does not mean that crime does not occur, but rather that visitors are rarely affected by criminal acts. It is still wise to observe basic security precautions.
  2. Crime Rate Risk Level 2: Visitors are exposed to a low degree of risk due to crime. Criminal acts occur, but are uncommon in most areas of the city. Petty crime occasionally affects visitors to these cities; incidents of violent crime rarely affect visitors to these cities. Basic security precautions are advisable.
  3. Crime Rate Risk Level 3: Visitors are exposed to a medium degree of risk due to crime. Petty crime is typically the primary security threat for visitors to these cities, although incidents of violent crime occasionally affect visitors. Visitors should practice standard security precautions.
  4. Crime Rate Risk Level 4: Visitors are exposed to a high degree of risk due to crime. Criminal acts occur frequently and are often random occurrences. Visitors are likely to be affected by both incidents of violent crime – such as carjacking, armed robbery and physical/sexual assault – and petty crime – such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching – although they may mitigate some of the risk by avoiding the more crime-ridden areas of the city. Visitors should take extra security precautions while in the city.
  5. Crime Rate Risk Level 5: Visitors are exposed to a very high degree of risk due to crime. Cities with a 5 rating are affected by rampant, largely uncontrolled crime. Both violent crime – such as carjacking, armed robbery and physical/sexual assault – and petty crime – such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching – regularly affect visitors to these cities. Criminally motivated attacks such as low-level bombings and shootouts are not uncommon. Police forces in such cities are generally not effective in controlling crime. Vigilant security precautions should be taken to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime.