Welcome to June
Ares Risk Management is here to help and support the travelling business community, keep you and your personnel safe while travelling – especially if your business takes you to some of the worlds at risk, crisis or conflict zones.
Before our Travel Trends & Risk Report, we’d like to remind you that when travelling abroad, even to countries which are considered “safe”, we live in a dangerous world. While conflict or terror attacks might not be prevalent in the country or city you are visiting, all countries and cities suffer from crime. Be aware of the types of crime you might encounter. We would also like to remind you that the weather may cause disruption to your travel plans. We also advise that you consider health issues and ensure that you are immunised (if need be) prior to travelling.
It is also worth noting that some over the counter and prescription medications which a legal and freely accessible in the UK and Europe might be considered contraband in other countries so please be sure that you are aware of the issues you may face when travelling abroad!
If you are travelling at any time this year and would like a more detailed country and regional risk assessment before deciding whether you need the services of an International Executive Close Protection Team or not, please do not hesitate to contact us at Ares Risk Management.
~ SETTING THE SCENE FOR JUNE ~
- Alarming rise in tensions between Iran and both the USA and Saudi Arabia.
- An escalation in Yemen’s war, which could intensify further in June.
- Pro-government forces in Syria stepped up bombing in Idlib, and fighting worsened in and around Libya’s capital, Tripoli.
- Relations between Somalia’s federal government and regions deteriorated and Al-Shabaab upped attacks, boding ill for June.
- Sudan’s military council resisted demands to hand over power to civilians and is already stepping up repression of protesters.
- Militia violence rose in the north-western Central African Republic.
- Intercommunity raids left dozens dead in eastern Chad.
- In western Niger, suspected jihadists ramped up attacks.
- Benin’s security forces cracked down on opposition protesters.
- Constitutional reforms that could give Togo’s president two more terms worsened tensions.
- In Guinea-Bissau’s political stalemate could trigger unrest in the coming weeks.
- Anti-Muslim violence rose in Sri Lanka.
- Tensions spiked within Kosovo and between Kosovo and Serbia.
- In Honduras, violence broke out as the government faced large protests against planned reforms.
- In Nicaragua, talks between the government and opposition stalled fuelling concerns they could falter in June, further deepening the country’s political crisis.
- A failed opposition uprising in Venezuela increased fears of violent escalation.
|At least 5 people have been killed and around 1 000 homes damaged after massive floods hit the town of San Gabriel, Mexico's Jalisco state on June 2, 2019. Several people remain missing.
Local authorities said several rivers overflowed, including Apango (San Gabriel) and Salsipuedes, damaging at least 8 bridges and multiple roads. Around 1 000 homes were damaged, electricity and drinking water disrupted.
|Authorities suspect a tornado hit the city of Bocholt, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany late June 4, 2019, causing significant damage. Another round of severe thunderstorms is expected today.
Severe thunderstorms swept over parts of France, Benelux and Germany on June 4, bringing wind gusts in excess of 100 km/h (62 mph).
Severe weather including a very rare instance of snow.
|A deepening Tasman low combined with a strong high in the Great Australian Bight, bringing windy and cold conditions to New South Wales and Queensland, Australia on June 3, 2019. A rare occurrence of snow was reported in near the NSW-QLD border at Eukey, just south of Stanthorpe.
Severe weather warnings were issued for a 1 000 km (620 miles) stretch of the coast, including Sydney, NSW and people urged to stay indoors amid heavy rain and gale-force winds.
Near-freezing temperatures and snowfall were reported at Eukey, just south of Stanthorpe. This is near the New South Wales - Queensland border, about 220 km (136 miles) SW of Brisbane.
|At least 10 people have been killed after a new wave of heavy rain hit parts of Ghana on May 31 and June 1, 2019. Many parts of the Western Region's capital Sekondi/Takoradi were flooded, resulting in a total power outage. Heavy rain and floods also hit capital Acra, leaving at least one person dead.
Heavy rain hit Ghana's Western Region over the past couple of days, leaving 10 people dead in two separate weather-related incidents.
|Historic flooding continues across the Midwest, causing levees to breach along the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers. Authorities have issued mandatory evacuation orders for parts of the region. Midwest is experiencing catastrophic flooding since mid-March.
The Dardanelle Levee along the Arkansas River rose 0.6 m (2 feet) above its record crest and breached early Friday, May 31, 2019, near the community of Holla Bend, flooding about 75 homes and forcing residents to evacuate.
Tornados also pose problems for Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic, central Appalachians. Wednesday's threat zone will stretch from eastern Illinois to western parts of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
While violent storms will not impact every community in this threat zone, residents throughout the area at risk should make sure they are prepared when severe weather strikes.
|A large tornado formed in Los Angeles district of Bio Bio region, southern Chile during the afternoon hours (LT) of May 30, 2019, causing significant damage and multiple injuries.
The tornado formed just before 18:00 LT and was preceded by strong winds and large hail.
|On 12 May 2019, heavy rain and hail affected Kakheti Region of Georgia, mainly Lagodekhi, Akhmeta, Telavi and Dedoplistskaro municipalities. As a result of the heavy rain (125 mm), yards, entrances, basements and first floors of many houses and buildings were flooded. Furthermore, infrastructure, such as roads and bridges connecting the villages, riverbank protections, as well as agricultural lands and fruit trees have been destroyed.|
|Measles outbreak continues to spread in Ukraine, with new cases being reported in all regions. In 2018, Ukraine reported more measles cases than all of the European Union. In spite of Large-scale outbreak control measures having been put on place to curb the spread of the disease, it continues to spread. Since the beginning of 2019, more than 21,000 cases (7 deaths) have been registered which is an absolute record for the country and 300 per cent increase from 2018.|
|The Measles epidemic in Chad is ongoing. Since the beginning of 2019, a total of 981 suspected measles cases including 6 deaths were reported from 56 out of 117 (48%) districts in the country. The number of reported cases has been increasing gradually since week 1 in 2019. Currently, 24 districts are epidemic.|
|On 21 January 2019, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) declared an outbreak of Lassa fever following an increase in the number of cases. From 01 to 27 January 2019, a total of 213 confirmed cases including 41 deaths were reported from sixteen states (Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba, Gombe, Anambra, Kaduna, Kwara, FCT, Benue, Rivers, Nassarawa and Kogi States) across 40 Local Government Areas|
|While the Cholera started in mid-2018, the crisis continues... with some improvement and a decrease in the number of new cases reported. The outbreak has affected four out of 10 regions in Cameroon, these include North, Far North, Central and Littoral region.|
|In the aftermath of two cyclones and heavy flooding, wells have been contaminated creating challenges to secure fresh drinking water and raising the risk for expanding outbreaks of cholera across the country. Areas particularly affected have been in Central Mozambique.|
|The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Ebola Virus Epidemic
|As of 24 March 2019, a total of 1016 EVD cases, including 951 confirmed and 65 probable cases, were reported. This includes 634 deaths (overall case fatality ratio 62%), including 569 deaths among confirmed cases...Security remains a major challenge for ongoing outbreak response efforts. Though successes have been reported from the field, notably in the 10-day lull prior to this past weekend, the overall situation remains fragile.|
|As of 10th February 2019, Measles outbreaks had been confirmed in seven counties namely; Rumbek East, Abyei, Juba, Pibor, Gogriel West, Bor South, and Mayom. A large scale immunisation campaign commenced on 6th March 2019, with a follow-up vaccination campaign planned for November 2019. Reports suggest that The outbreaks in Mayom and Abyei have been controlled.|
|The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has continued to improve since its onset in September 2018. The declining trend observed since the peak of the outbreak continues to be maintained despite an upsurge in December 2018 caused by the emergence of new cases in Mount Darwin District in Mashonaland Central province where the outbreak is ongoing.|
|While the situation is improving, the risk of the outbreak spreading to the few remaining unaffected regions of the country remains. Although the first phase of the reactive vaccination campaign progressed well, there is still a shortage of vaccines and funds for response in those districts at risk, and funding gaps need to be filled for phases two and three of the campaign, planned for February through April 2019. In February 2019 (weeks 7 to 8), an overall 774 new cases were recorded in 3 newly affected districts. Despite stabilizing in some areas, the above-mentioned spikes show that the epidemic is progressing, and the epidemic is now posing a significant risk to remote and hard to reach communities. Recorded new cases 7,288 in March 2019.|
|The Polio outbreak in Somalia started in 2018, and in spite of a vaccination campaign, there is an ongoing health risk to unvaccinated individuals.|
|Diphtheria is making an alarming comeback in the war-torn country, with 189 clinically diagnosed cases and 20 deaths – mostly children and young adults – in the last three months. Most diphtheria cases and deaths have been reported in Ibb governorate but the outbreak is spreading fast, already affecting 13 governorates. The closest points of entry to Ibb are in Sana’a and Hodeida, making it crucial that Sana’a airport and the port of Hodeida remain open.|
|Diphtheria is rapidly spreading among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Over 5000 people have been affected, and there have been 45 deaths so far this year, with the last death being reported on 19th January 2019.|
Typhoid & Hepatitis Outbreaks
|More recently there has also been an increase in typhoid and hepatitis A. You should avoid bathing in or drinking from any rivers.|
|There is a large, ongoing outbreak of yellow fever in multiple states of Brazil. Getting immunised is a must!|
Security Risk Legend
As you can see from the map of Africa, many nations within the continent are experiencing challenges which could pose risks to a range of Western travellers visiting the continent.
The security environment in many African countries is at best precarious and in some fast deteriorating. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
Separatist militants in Angola’s Cabinda exclave announced they would resume their armed struggle. This situation is ongoing and remains volatile.
After disputed elections in Benin, security forces clashed with opposition protesters in the economic capital Cotonou, reportedly leaving at least seven dead. Both the government and opposition hardened their positions, prompting fears that violence could worsen in June.
Burkina Faso is caught between escalating insurgent violence and widespread social discontent. An Islamist insurrection led by the militant group Ansarul Islam continues to exact a heavy toll on government forces in the country’s north and east. Parts of the North and East of the country have slipped beyond government control.
In Cameroon, Boko Haram stepped up attacks in the Far North and Anglophone separatists continued to clash with security forces in the west. Violence escalated there around 20 May, Cameroon’s National Day. The violence is ongoing throughout the region
In neighbouring Chad, inter-ethnic attacks spiked in the east, and militia violence rose in the Central African Republic.
After bombings targeted tourists near pyramids, authorities launched crackdown on suspected Islamist militants. Roadside bombing near Giza pyramids injured 17 people in mid-May. Immediately following the Giza bombing (next day) the security forces killed twelve suspected Islamist militants in two raids in Cairo. Authorities accused Hasm group, the alleged wing of Muslim Brotherhood, of “planning chaos”, but did not say that raids were linked to Giza bombing. The situation continues to be challenging.
The war in central Mali has reached an impasse, with the state unable to defeat jihadist insurgents by force. The insurgency and military operations against it have exacerbated inter-community violence. As a result, some Malians call for negotiations between the government and militant leaders. The situation continues to be very volatile.
A new insurgency is developing along the Niger-Mali border. Jihadist groups, including a local Islamic State branch, have established a foothold in the region, exploiting recent instability in neighbouring Mali and insecurity that has plagued border areas for decades. Clashes along the Niger-Mali border have claimed dozens of lives over the past few months. With no resolution in sight, it would seem that hostilities, insurgency and escalation of violence will continue unabated for some time to some.
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Mozambique. There has been an increasing intensity of attacks in Cabo Delgado since January 2019, with attacks reported in the districts of Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, Macomia, Nangade, Quissanga, Muidumbe, Meluco and Ibo. Militants have used explosives, machetes and firearms to conduct lethal attacks, as well as burning vehicles and homes. There are reports of an increased security presence in the province, including roadblocks, and there are regular clashes between militants, armed vigilante groups and Mozambican security forces. On 28 May 2019, 16 people were killed when militants attacked a vehicle in Macomia, using explosives and firearms. This was the deadliest incident to date.
Serious security challenges persisted including Boko Haram (BH) insurgency in the north east. Bandit violence in the north-west, and herder-farmer tensions in north central, which altogether killed over 200. Suspected jihadists ramped up attacks in western Niger near the border with Mali and Burkina Faso, killing several civilians and dozens of soldiers.
In Somalia, already fraught relations between the federal government in Mogadishu and the regional states soured further, raising the risk of greater political turmoil and insecurity, just as Al-Shabaab ramped up attacks in the capital and rural areas. After talks between President Farmajo and regional leaders collapsed with no agreement on critical issues from the electoral process to resource sharing, two regions suspended cooperation with the centre.
Hope for a peaceful transition in Sudan after President Bashir’s ouster is fading fast. In May, the ruling military council resisted pressure to hand over authority to civilians and soldiers twice reportedly opened fire on protesters. Violence could rise in June; already clashes erupted when security forces tried to clear a sit-in protest from outside the defence ministry in Khartoum.
Political unrest and violent resistance to government proposed transition to the Unity Government. Fighting between rebels and government forces have continued throughout May in the south of the country and are expected to continue in June.
|RWANDA & UGANDA
Relations between Rwanda and Uganda continued to fray. Rwandan soldiers 24 May crossed into Uganda in pursuit of the suspected smugglers and shot dead one Rwandan and one Ugandan. Ugandan authorities 28 May arrested two Rwandans for allegedly entering the country to gather intelligence. The situation continues to deteriorate.
In Guinea-Bissau, President Vaz continued to resist pressure from the ruling party to name a new Prime Minister after the March elections and allow the formation of a government. Thousands took to the streets to protest, and there are fears security forces could forcibly suppress further protests, especially around the end of Vaz’s term on 23 June.
Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Far East
Hostilities continue in the 6-year war between Ukraine and Russia, and it would seem that there continues to be little hope of a peaceful resolution at this time. The situation continues to be tense and with embargos, in place. Civilian deprivation is high as blockades prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the area.
With his party’s victory in the snap parliamentary elections and a new calm on the frontlines with Azerbaijan, Armenia’s leader Nikol Pashinyan and his team will have more space to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Advice to visitors against travelling within 5km of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Tavush and Gegharkunik regions, and along the M16/H26 road between the towns of Ijevan and Noyemberyan, continue to be in place.
Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh continue. Although there has been no recent history of terror attacks these cannot be ruled out, be aware that protests and demonstrations in the cities are common and you should take care, monitor the media and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh continue. There have been several ceasefire violations along the Line of Contact separating the opposing forces and elsewhere. There is also a heightened risk of random terrorist activity.
The security situation in Lebanon remains unchanged. The region is highly volatile with a high likelihood of terror attacks throughout the country. In addition, there are criminal gangs operating in parts of the Bekka, especially northern Bekka, involved in drug cultivation and smuggling. Recent protests against the UN have turned violent, and there are unexploded ordnance and landmines in many areas. Some area’s significantly more dangerous, such as Palestinian Refugee camps and the border regions with Syria and Hermel Area, including the towns of Arsal, Ras Baalbek, Qaa, Laboué and Nahlé.The security situation can deteriorate very quickly and conflict with Israel can spark very quickly. Be aware that there has been a heightened risk of terrorism against aviation.
However, the 6 May elections readjusted the political balance but brought no fundamental change. As before, no government can be formed without Hizbollah. To be effective in government the Shiite Islamist movement, as always, will have to reach out to partners that oppose much of its agenda. Hizbollah is not about to take formal control of the next government, however, because that move would put Lebanon at risk of losing crucial foreign support or even becoming a pariah state.
In Libya, hundreds were killed in and around the capital Tripoli as fighting intensified between Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s forces and those nominally loyal to the UN-backed government.
The situation remains extremely volatile and dangerous. High levels of violence persist throughout Syria, including full-scale military operations involving the use of small arms, tanks, artillery and aircraft. A number of chemical weapons attacks have taken place across Syria. Estimates suggest that over 470,000 people have been killed in the Syria conflict, including over 55,000 children.The Syrian regime does not exercise control of significant parts of Syria, notably in the north, south and east of the country. A small area of eastern Syria remains under the effective control of Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), which is fiercely hostile to the United Kingdom.
Terrorists are highly likely to continue. Past attacks have been across Syria and have left large numbers of people dead or wounded. There is also a high threat of kidnapping of UK and Western nationals. There is NO UK Embassy presence in Syria.
For the past year, relations between the U.S. and Iran have brought to mind a slow-motion train wreck. Of late, the pace has dangerously accelerated, and tensions could soon lead to a catastrophic collision and the outbreak of war.
There is a risk that British nationals, and a higher risk that British/Iranian dual nationals, could be arbitrarily detained in Iran.
All British nationals should consider carefully the risks of travelling to Iran. The Iranian authorities don’t recognise dual nationality for Iranian citizens. Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Iran. Attacks could happen anywhere, including in places visited by foreigners.
Iran is a Muslim country in which Islamic law is strictly enforced. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend.
There is a risk of terrorist attacks and kidnap across the country. Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Iraq. There’s also a high kidnap threat. While attacks can take place at any time, there’s a heightened threat during religious or public holidays.Areas liberated from Daesh are likely to contain remnants of war and improvised explosive devices.
The security situation throughout Iraq remains uncertain and could deteriorate quickly, often with very little warning.
|ISRAEL / PALESTINE
To a large extent, the current flare-up has its origins in failure to implement fully the ceasefire agreement Israel reached with Hamas. This is part of a recurring problem which in the main continues to affect Gaza, which continues to be a highly volatile area. Protesters have often fired incendiary devices into Israel and led to retaliation by Israeli forces. While neither country wants a new war, they are bogged down in the first steps of the ceasefire which was negotiated in November of last year and unless the stalemate is broken the situation will remain volatile.
Fighting between Huthi (Ansar Allah) and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed forces is intensifying in the southern governorate of al-Dhale. Battles have cut off key transit routes connecting the southern port city of Aden, the Huthi-held capital of Sanaa in the north, and the central governorate of Taiz, which houses important food processing, packaging and distribution facilities.Huthis launched drone strikes on oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia and fighting escalated on several fronts in Yemen. Military escalation and rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran raise the risk of worse fighting in Yemen and more Huthi attacks on Saudi and Emirati assets in coming weeks.
Essentially Yemen is in the grip of a humanitarian catastrophe.
Amidst an intensifying Taliban insurgency and emerging Islamic State threat, Afghanistan's path to peace and stability looks ever more perilous. Taliban militants now control more territory than at any time since its ouster by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001. The security situation in Afghanistan is highly dangerous and volatile. If you must travel to Afghanistan, travel by road throughout the country, but particularly outside the capital Kabul, is extremely dangerous. Seek professional security advice for all travel and consider using armoured vehicles.
Hotels and guesthouses used by foreign nationals and the government of Afghanistan are subject to regular threats. Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Afghanistan. Specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication and focused on targeting foreign nationals.
There is a high threat of kidnapping throughout the country. Recent kidnappings have ended in the murder of those individuals that were kidnapped.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Pakistan. There’s a high threat of terrorism, kidnap and sectarian violence throughout the country, including the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi. You should be vigilant, avoid all crowds, public events, political gatherings, religious processions and sporting events.Foreigners, in particular, Westerners, may be directly targeted. Densely populated unsecured areas, such as markets, shopping malls, restaurants and places where westerners and the Pakistani elite are known to congregate, are potential focal points for attacks.
In February terrorists carried out car bombings in Kashmir which resulted in 40 deaths, and it is likely that terrorists’ will try to carry out further attacks in India. Recent attacks have targeted public places including those visited by foreigners. There have been recent media reports suggesting Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) may have an interest in attacking targets in India. There may be an increased threat to places visited by British nationals such as religious sites, markets, festival venues and beaches.Visitors to India should avoid protests and large gatherings. Stampedes have occurred during some events with large crowds, including at political rallies and religious gatherings, resulting in deaths and injuries.
Acute political polarisation in Bangladesh has caused recurrent violent flare-ups, governance breakdowns, and widened social divisions. Furthermore, an increase in jihadist violence is exacerbating Bangladesh’s problems.Bangladesh has been in a state of turmoil since the run-up to the national elections in December 2018, added to which there has been the ongoing refugee crisis of Rohingya refugees entering the country from Burma.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Bangladesh. The threat extends across the country.
In Rakhine state, longstanding communal tensions and extreme discrimination by the government against the Rohingya Muslim minority has morphed into a major crisis. Following renewed attacks by a militant group on security targets in northern Rakhine, and a brutal response by the military has driven more than 430,000 Rohingya into neighbouring Bangladesh. In addition to the human catastrophe, this could undermine the political transition and make Myanmar a target for transnational jihadist groups. The peace process with some 21 ethnic armed groups has lost momentum, and a negotiated settlement remains elusive. Resurgent Buddhist nationalism threatens to divide communities and faiths in this multi-ethnic, multi-religious country.
From 1 February 2019, if you have a British Citizen passport you will be able to enter Uzbekistan as a visitor for stays of up to 30 days without a visa.Air quality in the Karakalpakstan and Khorezm regions has deteriorated as a result of storms over the Aral Sea bringing salt, dust and pollutants into the air.
You can be detained on arrival for the possession of certain medicines, including codeine. You should always carry a doctor’s prescription with you.
Terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan can’t be ruled out and border regions Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan are potential flashpoints. Be aware that borders can be closed with no notice.
Terrorist attacks in Kyrgyzstan can’t be ruled out. You should be vigilant in public places and follow security advice from the local authorities.The Kyrgyz/Uzbek and Kyrgyz/Tajik borders are subject to closure without notice. There have been a number of security incidents in the Kyrgyz/Uzbek border region in recent months.
There is a high risk of earthquakes.
Terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Tajikistan. Tourists have been known to have been targeted for deliberate attack, particularly on hiking and cycling tracks around the countryside, 4 were killed in deliberate targeted attacks in 2018.There are regular clashes between the Taliban and Afghan government forces in north-east Afghanistan close to the border with Tajikistan. This border is also used by drug smugglers who often engage in armed clashes with Tajik security forces.
Tourism, health and transport infrastructure is poor and travel requires careful planning. Avoid off-road areas immediately adjoining the Afghan, Uzbek and Kyrgyz borders, which may be mined.
The level of tension on the Korean Peninsula is volatile, and tensions escalate during South Koreans-US military exercises; notably, these are conducted in the Spring and Autumn annually. While daily life in the capital city Pyongyang may appear calm, the security situation in North Korea can change with little notice and with no advance warning of possible actions by the North Korean authorities. This poses significant risks to British visitors and residents.
In Sri Lanka, the fallout from the Easter Sunday terror attacks continued as intercommunal tensions and anti-Muslim violence increased, with hundreds of Muslim businesses, homes and mosques damaged or burned during attacks by Sinhala Buddhist extremist groups.
|PAPUA NEW GUINEA There has been significantly increased levels of tribal fighting in the Hela and Southern Highlands provinces, leading to a declaration of states of emergency by the Papua New Guinea government. There has also been heavier than usual tribal fighting in Enga and Western Highlands provinces. If you’re planning to travel to these provinces, you should take greater care than usual and consider enhanced security precautions.
Outbreaks of tribal violence may occur with little warning and may escalate very quickly. You should avoid large crowds and public gatherings as they may turn violent.
Monsoon season in Papua New Guinea runs from November to May. The 2019 forecast is for heavy rain and strong winds, with a heightened potential for flooding and landslides.
There is a high level of serious and violent crime. Law and order is poor or very poor in many parts of the country. Pay close attention to your personal security, particularly after dark, and monitor the media for possible new security risks.
Carjacking is an ever-present threat, particularly in Port Moresby and Lae. Lock car doors and keep windows up at all times. If possible travel in convoy or with a security escort after dark.
A failed uprising by Venezuela’s opposition leader and “interim President” Juan Guaidó on 30 April led to clashes between troops and defecting soldiers and protesters, leaving scores injured. Further polarising the country’s dangerous political standoff, these latest developments raise the risk of violent escalation by domestic and even international actors.
The Colombian government ended peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group, prompting fears of a return to open conflict and more violence along the border with Venezuela and the Pacific Coast.
In Guatemala, the government stepped up its attacks on judicial institutions fighting corruption; however political tensions continue.
March saw record levels of violence in spite of the government’s efforts to fight crime. There are currently large numbers of migrants moving en masse from Honduras through Guatemala to Mexico and beyond. This is having an impact on border crossings.There have been a number of reported shooting incidents and other incidents of violence in the main tourist destinations, including in locations popular with tourists. There is currently an increased police presence in the Cancun area, including in the hotel zone. While tourists have not been the target of such incidents, anyone in the vicinity of an incident could be affected.
The security situation can pose a risk for foreigners. Be alert to the existence of street crime as well as more serious violent crime like robbery, assault and vehicle hijacking. In certain parts of Mexico, you should take particular care to avoid being caught up in drug-related violence between criminal groups.
Most visits to El Salvador are trouble-free. However, El Salvador has one of the highest crime rates in Latin America so you should take extra care. Take particular care in downtown San Salvador and on roads outside major towns and cities, especially at night. Avoid wearing expensive jewellery or displaying valuable items. Safeguard your passport, mobile phone and cash against pickpockets.
The situation in Haiti remains unchanged. Violent anti-government protests continue to sweep through Haiti, fuelled by anger over deteriorating economic conditions and a scandal involving embezzlement of public funds.
There’s no British Embassy in Honduras. Consular support may be limited in Honduras, with the exception of Tegucigalpa and the Bay Islands, and severely limited in more remote areas.In Honduras, political tensions flared as protests continued against the government's planned health and education reforms, leading to violent clashes between protesters and the police. Demonstrations can occur throughout Honduras, often with little or no notice. If you’re travelling in Honduras, you should remain vigilant and avoid all demonstrations. In the event of unrest, have a contingency plan to make changes to your travel plans at short notice, and be aware that airlines sometimes modify their schedules at short notice.
You are advised against all but essential travel to Nicaragua, as There has been a prolonged period of political unrest and street violence in many areas in Nicaragua since mid-April 2018. In the early months of the crisis, this involved the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition, resulting in many serious injuries and 300 deaths.
Violence and disorder can flair up with no-notice and at any time. It is also against Nicaraguan immigration law for foreigners to involve themselves in local politics, and you may put yourself at risk of arrest if taking part in protests or breaches of the peace. Crime has also risen quite significantly since the protests began.
The security situation in the province of Esmeraldas can change very quickly. If you’re undertaking essential travel in areas of the province beyond the 20km exclusion zone, you should pay close attention to warnings issued by the Ecuadorean authorities.
Although Ecuador doesn’t have a history of terrorism, in 2018 there have been a number of bomb explosions and kidnappings in the northern province of Esmeraldas.
Ecuador is situated in an area of intense seismic activity. There is a high risk of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. You should make sure you are aware of the risks and are familiar with the relevant safety and evacuation procedures.
Cases of armed robbery are increasing and petty crime is common.
Demonstrations are common in Peru and can turn violent quickly. There may be a higher risk to your safety in areas where there is organised crime and terrorism linked to the production of drugs.There’s risk of robbery by bogus taxi drivers, especially to and from the airports and at bus terminals.
Driving standards are poor. Crashes resulting in death and injury occur frequently.
The rainy season in French Guiana, during which tropical storms may occur, takes place between December and July.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in French Guiana, attacks can’t be ruled out. Crime levels are low, but serious crime does occur.
Till our next report, stay safe in your travel, and if you are not sure about the safety or security, please don't hesitate to contact us for a detailed, Country & Regional Risk Report and advice.