092518 – World Status Report

When traveling on behalf of UT Dallas, set up your institutional safety net and prepare for an emergency as a standard step of all your travels.  Find more information in the Traveler Best Practices webpage.

The risk information in this report is retrieved from U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other professional sources as listed in the post. It provides general guidance for UT Dallas travelers.

Please note the revision date (mmddyy) of this report, printed on the title of the post, and go to the direct sources listed for the most up-to-date information.  The information in this report may change without prior notice.

Avoid Nonessential Travel

Conflict and Terrorism

  • Eritrea – Government of Canada. While Ethiopia and Eritrea recently re-opened the border between their two countries, military operations could resume at any time in adjoining areas. The border is not clearly defined. Two border checkpoints (Bure in the Afar Region and Zalambessa in Tigray) were reopened on September 11, 2018. Avoid driving off main and paved roads as there remain unmarked landmines.
  • Ethiopia – Government of Canada. While the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia was recently re-opened, armed conflict could erupt in border areas that are part of this heavily militarized security corridor. The security situation is particularly unpredictable in the northern border regions of Afar and Tigray. Banditry and kidnapping occur.
  • The Gaza Strip – Government of Canada. Clashes resulting in casualties have been increasingly taking place in the Gaza Strip. Hostilities between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and terrorist groups, including Hamas, in the Gaza Strip could resume and the security situation could deteriorate with little or no notice. Remain aware of your surroundings, avoid large gatherings, stay informed of the security situation, monitor the media for information on ongoing protests, and follow instructions from the IDF’s Home Front Command. Border areas with Israel are particularly dangerous.

Crime and Social Unrest

  • HondurasU.S. Department of State. Reconsider Travel due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
  • Democratic Republic of the CongoU.S. Department of State. Reconsider travel due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Natural Disaster

  • NigeriaGDACS. On 08/31/2018, a flood started in Nigeria, lasting until 09/24/2018 (last update). The flood caused 100 killed and 1000 displaced.
  • Nigeria – Government of Canada. Heavy rains and rising water levels have caused severe flooding in Kogi, Niger, Delta, Anambra, Kastina, Adamawa and Jigawa states. There could be severe disruptions to the essential services like transportation, power distribution, water and food supply, telecommunications networks, emergency services, and medical care. Avoid any unnecessary travel through the affected areas. If you reside in the affected areas, you should exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • IndiaGDACS. On 08/10/2018, a flood started in India, lasting until 09/24/2018 (last update). The flood caused 501 killed and 280679 displaced.
  • United States – Government of Canada. Avoid non-essential travel to North Carolina due to the risk of flooding caused by hurricane Florence.
  • United States – Government of Canada. Avoid non-essential travel to North Carolina due to the risk of flooding caused by hurricane Florence.
  • China, Hong Kong, Macao – Government of Canada. Typhoon Mangkhut swept China’s Guangdong province from Hong Kong south to Zhanjiang, as a category 1 typhoon, on 09/16/18. The typhoon brought excessive rainfall and violent winds. There are significant disruptions to the essential services like transportation, power distribution, water and food supply, telecommunications networks, emergency services and medical care. Avoid any unnecessary travel through the affected area. If you reside in the affected areas, you should exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the instructions of local authorities. Contact your travel agent or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel arrangements.
  • PhilippinesGOV.UK. Typhoon Mangkhut (local name Ompong) struck northern Luzon on 15 September; the after effects being experienced include landslides, power outages and infrastructure damage are still being dealt with by the Philippine authorities; if you’re in the area you should monitor local news coverage and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Demonstrations

  • Costa Rica – Government of Canada. Labor unions called for a general strike from September 10 to 14, 2018 throughout the country. Since then, several demonstrations have taken place and roadblocks have been erected. This could significantly disrupt the essential services like transportation, power distribution, water and food supply, telecommunications networks, emergency services, and medical care. If you are in Costa Rica be vigilant, ensure to have sufficient quantities of water, food, medication and fuel, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, which have the potential to suddenly turn violent, and monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

Take Enhanced Precautions

Conflict and Terrorism

  • NigerGOV.UK. The state of emergency was extended for a further 3 months on 18 September 2018; Travel around Niger can be difficult, and conditions are poor for overland travel. You should take all necessary safety precautions, especially outside of main urban areas, have confidence in your security arrangements and maintain a high level of vigilance. Avoid all travel between towns at night. Seek local advice and use local travel agents and guides when travelling outside main towns and in desert areas. An approved local travel agent can arrange all the necessary permits for your journey and leave details of your itinerary with the local authorities. Travel in convoy and carry an independent satellite phone when travelling off the beaten track. You should prepare well in advance and make sure you have a sufficient supply of drinking water and food.
  • JamaicaGOV.UK. State of Emergency declared within parts of Kingston Central, Kingston Western and St Andrew South Police Divisions.  Security operations are ongoing and further activity could occur with little or no notice. Exercise caution if you’re in the area, particularly if travelling at night, and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any restrictions. These may also result in road closures or travel delays, and the operating hours of some businesses may be subject to change.

Demonstrations

  • Mauritania – Government of Canada. Legislative elections were held on September 1 and 15, 2018. Demonstrations could still occur following the announcement of election results. Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media for the latest information.
  • Eswatini – Government of Canada. The second round of parliamentary elections is due to take place on September 21, 2018. Demonstrations could occur before, during and after the elections. Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media for the latest information.
  • EthiopiaGOV.UK. There have been protests in various areas around Addis Ababa, with large crowds gathering; the situation is currently calm but tense and may continue for some time; you should check local media and other official sources for updates.
  • CameroonGOV.UK. Presidential election campaigns start on 24 September and voting will take place on 7 October; rallies and protests may take place during this period; some previous political protests, rallies and demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Costa RicaGOV.UK. A national strike has been ongoing since Monday 10 September 2018, which the organisers have described as “indefinite”. Participation so far has been limited to some unions and workers groups. There have been roadblocks in a number of locations across the country, causing significant delays and, for a short while, affecting access to the airport. The disruption caused a cruise ship to cancel a stopover in Puntarenas on the Pacific coast. Some confrontations between police and protestors have occurred, as well as instances of vandalism. Avoid large gatherings and be aware of possible road obstructions and delays, particularly in and around cities. If travelling within the more populated areas, check local travel information and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

Crime and Social Unrest

  • Poland – Government of Canada. Card skimming and overcharging occurs in Poland, especially in bars and nightclubs. Avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature, cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN and check any unauthorized transactions on your account statements. Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas only. If you visit adult entertainment venues, check for their reputability on different travel websites ahead of time, ask for a printed price list before ordering a drink and consider paying cash.

Natural Disaster

  • JapanGDACS. From 20 Sep – 25 Sep Tropical Cyclone TRAMI-18 is expected to have a medium humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and the affected population in the past and forecasted path.
  • IndiaGDACS. From 20 Sep – 20 Sep Tropical Cyclone FOUR-18 was expected to have a medium humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and the affected population in the past and forecasted path.
  • Guam – Government of Canada. Typhoons usually occur, especially in August. The rainy season extends from July to December. During this period, even small storms can quickly develop into major typhoons. These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services. If you decide to travel to Guam during the rainy and typhoon season know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks, be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip, stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts, carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.
  • Northern Marianas – Government of Canada. The Northern Marianas are subject to typhoons, typically from June to December, and especially from August to November. The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from July to October. During this period, even small storms can quickly develop into major typhoons. These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services. If you decide to travel to Northern Marianas during the rainy and typhoon season know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks, be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip, stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts, carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.
  • Vietnam – Government of Canada. Typhoons usually occur between June and December and affect primarily central and northern Vietnam. These storms can result in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and can hamper the provision of essential services. Monitor local news and weather reports, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.

Health

  • West Nile virusECDC. Between 14 and 20 September 2018, EU Member States reported 186 human West Nile virus infections: Italy (92), Greece (32), Romania (33), Hungary (12), Croatia (11), Austria (2), Slovenia (2) and Bulgaria (2). This week, no human cases were reported by EU neighbouring countries. In six areas, human cases were reported for the first time: Croatia (2), Slovenia (2), Italy (1) and Greece (1). All other human cases were reported from areas that have been affected during previous transmission seasons. This week, 25 deaths were reported by Italy (14), Romania (6) and Greece (5). In the same week, 12 outbreaks among equids were reported by Italy (6), Hungary (5) and Austria (1)
  • Legionnaires’ diseaseECDC. According to regional health authorities, 405 pneumonia cases have been reported as of 17 September 2018, 42 of which tested positive for Legionella. Of the 405 cases, 66% are male, and the average age is 65 years. According to media reports and as of 20 September 2018, the number of pneumonia cases is 450, including 43 confirmed cases of Legionella infection.
  • CholeraECDC. Since the last CDTR update on 24 August 2018, the countries reporting the most cases are Yemen (38 269 cases, 63 deaths), Nigeria (7 966 cases, 224 deaths), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2 918 cases, 65 deaths), Niger (1 592 cases, 36 deaths) and Ethiopia (1 103 cases). Since the previous CDTR update, WHO has declared under control the cholera outbreaks in Kenya and Uganda. Two countries are reporting new cholera outbreaks within their territories: Algeria and Zimbabwe.
  • ZimbabweWHO. On 6 September 2018, a cholera outbreak in Harare was declared by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) of Zimbabwe and notified to WHO on the same day. All 25 patients had typical cholera symptoms. The MoHCC declared the outbreak after 11 cases were confirmed for cholera.

Law and Culture

  • TaiwanGOV.UK. Drug laws are stricter than in the UK, and involvement with illegal drugs, which includes cannabis, can attract strong sentences.
  • South KoreaGOV.UK. With effect from 28 September 2018, changes to Korean Traffic Law come into effect, including all passengers in vehicles must wear seat belts including in rear seats. City buses that are not fitted with seat belts are exempt from this regulation. Drivers will be required to take precautionary measures when parking on hills/slopes (such as placing stops behind each wheel, or turning the steering wheel to ensure that the front wheels of the vehicle are angled towards the kerb).
  • Nigeria – GOV.UK. Rehearsals for the 58th National Day celebrations will take place in Abuja until 1 October, which could include low-level fly pasts by Air Force fighter jets; these are rehearsals only, so you should not take action unless advised by local authorities.

Ebola News

  • Democratic Republic of the CongoECDC. Over the past week, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has reported six additional cases in Beni (4) and Butembo (2). As of 19 September 2018, there have been 143 Ebola virus disease cases (112 confirmed, 31 probable), including 97 deaths (66 confirmed, 31 probable) since the beginning of the outbreak.
  • Democratic Republic of the CongoWHO. The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains active. While substantial progress has been made to limit the spread of the disease to new areas and the situation in Mangina (Mabalako Health Zone) is stabilizing, the cities of Beni and Butembo have become the new hotspot. Response teams continue to enhance activities to mitigate potential clusters in these cities and prevent spread to other areas.
  • Kenya GOV.UK. On 1 August 2018, an outbreak of Ebola was declared in Béni territory, North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kenyan authorities have put in place additional screening measures at some airports and border crossings in Kenya for those arriving from affected areas. The latest updates can be found on the WHO website.
  • TanzaniaGOV.UK. Travellers from the DRC may be subject to health screening at ports of entry in Tanzania due to Ebola outbreak.

Please note the revision date (mmddyy) of this report, printed on the title of the post, and go to the direct sources listed for the most up-to-date information.  The information in this report may change without prior notice.