Welcome to October's Global Travel Risk Report
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 varying levels of 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 OCTOBER ~
- In September, U.S. President Trump suspended talks with the Taliban, curtailing prospects for peace in Afghanistan
- An attack on Saudi oil facilities prompted a sharp rise in tensions between Riyadh and Washington on one side and Iran on the other.
- Cross-border attacks between Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Huthis could multiply unless they agree on steps to de-escalate.
- In Egypt and Algeria, security forces cracked down on opposition protests,
- Tunisia’s second round of presidential polls could stir tensions.
- Violence around protests in Indonesia’s Papua left at least 30 dead.
- Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks in Somalia.
- Violence between armed groups rose in the Central African Republic.
- Security forces increased attacks in Cameroon’s Anglophone areas.
- Intercommunal conflict deepened in central Mali.
- It is anticipated that in October, insecurity could rise in eastern DR Congo, northern Burkina Faso, Malawi and Mozambique.
- Talks between Venezuela’s government and opposition fell apart opening the door to further civil unrest.
- Haiti’s political crisis gave way to more violence.
- In Sudan, the appointment of a new cabinet consolidated a power-sharing deal and imminent talks between the government and armed opposition groups are an opportunity to advance peace in the peripheries.
|EARTHQUAKES||Indonesia– October 3rd – Magnitude 5.5: It is anticipated that 170,000 people could be affected by the quake – To date, there have been no reported casualties, however Indonesia is known for its earthquakes and a quake on 25th September left 20 dead and affected 300,000 people.
Alaska – October 4th – Magnitude 5.0: To date, there are no reports of casualties or structural damage to buildings or infrastructure.
Australia: October 1 – Magnitude 5.5. - The earthquake hit off the Central Queensland coast Tuesday morning. The epicentre was 200km east of Gladstone. As there are no inhabitants within 100Km of the quake zone – no casualties or damage to infrastructure is expected.
|TROPICAL CYCLONES/HURRICANES/ TYPHOONS||THE AZORES – On 30th September Category 1.5 Tropical Cyclone Lorenzo was making its way across the Noth Atlantic and expected to make landfall on the 1st October – while the anticipated humanitarian impact is expected to be low, high winds and torrential rain are expected along with the possibility of flash floods. Countries with exposure to Tropical Cyclone Lorenzo include Portugal, Ireland & UK
JAPAN, KOREA, REPUBLIC OF, KOREA, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA & PHILIPPINES – Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Mitag made landfall between the 27th September and 3rd October. 2million people are believed to have been affected by torrential rains, high winds, and subsequent mudslides.
MEXICO – 1st October category 2 Tropical Cyclone Narda, made landfall, with wind-speeds of 85Km.p.h. At this time there are no reports of casualties or damage to infrastructure. Mexico is in the final 8-week of its annual cyclone season, so more severe storms are expected before the end of the season in November.
The Hurricane Season across the Caribbean/ Bahamas/Florida and Carolina’s/Mexico and Northern Southe American countries spans from the 1st June through to November – forecasters predict that 2019 will be one of the worst years for these weather events in the region.
The Typhoon Season in Japan and Western Pacific spans from July to October.
Cyclone Season – Southe Pacific runs annually from November 20 April.
|FLOODS||No Floods to report in early October, however as Hurricane/Typhoon and Tropical Cyclone seasons are either ending or about to begin – flash flooding and mud-slides can be anticipated in regions affected by these annual extreme weather conditions.|
|VOLCANOES||SICILY – 1st October – Mt Etna - Vigorous activity at the summit craters of the volcano is continuous. An increase in ash emissions from the Central (Voragine), Northeast and (to a lesser extent) Bocca Nuova craters triggered a temporary rise of the aviation alert level to RED yesterday – Today the aviation alert has been reduced to Orange.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Mt Ulawun has been very active all year and had earlier in the years seen some explosive activity – as things stand, Mt Ulawun has been emitting ash and gases over the past 72, hours, and the region is on high eruption alert.Mt Manam also located in a chain of islands in the Bismark Strait, just off the coast of Papua New Guinea has been very active all year. In fact, much of the activity has been explosive eruptions with the most recent Ash Plume on 4th October rising to 10, 000 feet. The region is on high alert as further significant violent eruptions are anticipated.
|DROUGHTS||Western Africa is in the grip of an ongoing drought – countries affected are Mauritania, Senegal.|
|CHOLERA OUTBREAK:||Nigeria | Cameroon | Ethiopia | Kenya | Tanzania| Zambia | Mozambique | India | Yemen | Burundi|
|DENGUE FEVER OUTBREAK:||Honduras | Maldives | Thailand | Cambodia | Laos | Malasia | Nepal | Vietnam | Sri Lanka | Bangladesh|
|EBOLA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER OUTBREAK:||Rwanda | South Sudan | Burundi | Uganda | South Africa|
|LASSA FEVER OUTBREAK:||Nigeria | Liberia | Sierra Leone | Guinea | Honduras|
|MEASLES OUTBREAK:||Democratic Republic of Congo | South Sudan | Madagascar | Nigeria| South America | Ukraine | Philippines | UK
|POLIO OUTBREAK:||Afghanistan | Cameroon | Democratic Republic of Congo | Ethiopia | Islamic Republic of Iran | Mozambique | Niger | Nigeria | Pakistan | Papua New Guinea |Somalia|
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.
The situation in Algeria remains unchanged. Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Algeria, including kidnappings. Terrorist attacks have focussed on the Algerian state, but attacks could be indiscriminate and include foreigners. There’s also a risk that lone actors could target foreigners. You should be vigilant at all times and take additional security precautions, especially in: towns and cities; the southern, Libyan and Tunisian border areas; rural and mountainous areas in the north; and the Sahara.
The situation remains unchanged, separatist militants in Angola’s Cabinda exclave announced they would resume their armed struggle. We advise against all but essential travel to the country and should you choose to go, avoid political demonstration, as these can turn violent with very little to no notice.
Burkina Faso is suffering from mounting insurgent attacks and social unrest.Insecurity persisted in north and east, especially in Centre-North, East and Sahel regions. Suspected jihadists stepped up attacks against security forces and civilians especially in the north, fuelling further protests in capital Ouagadougou; security forces’ partial withdrawal from Djibo, Soum province capital, and nearby military camps raises risk that jihadists further increase attacks on urban centres in coming weeks.
As Burundi’s 2020 presidential elections approach, the government and ruling party’s youth wing stepped up repression of the main opposition party, arresting and assaulting its members, killing one. There’s a high risk of street crime. There have been incidents of armed burglary, sometimes targeting foreign exchange offices and banks.
Terrorist attacks in Burundi can’t be ruled out. Al Shabaab has made public threats against Burundi because of its support to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
The Boko Haram insurgency is on the wane in the Lake Chad basin but continues to carry out attacks against civilian and military targets in Cameroon’s Far North. The war has killed 2,000 Cameroonians, displaced 170,000 and triggered the rise of vigilante self-defence groups.
Boko Haram (BH) maintained widespread assaults on security forces and civilians across the country, with the violence intensifying in Anglophone areas in the west. The authorities continued to repress opposition.
|The CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
A deal to end the six-years of violence between armed groups across the country and government forces has run into challenges for many reasons, however there has been a small reduction in the violence and fighting. The Central African Republic continues to be volatile.
Risks of an escalation of violence in Tibesti are high as friction is rising between the state, gold miners and the local ethnic Teda population. Communal violence in eastern Chad left about 100 dead and prompted the government to impose a state of emergency. Boko Haram (BH) continued to attack security forces in the west and President Déby held talks with political parties on the electoral process.
|The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The World Health Organisation declared the Ebola Virus outbreak a Global Health Emergency. Ethnic violence that erupted in Ituri province in the northeast. The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains unchanged with the ongoing expectation of escalating violence and insecurity. The east of the country is particularly vulnerable to escalating violence.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Egypt. Although most attacks occur in North Sinai, there is a risk of terrorist attacks across the country. Attacks could be indiscriminate, affecting Egyptian security forces, religious sites, large public gatherings and places visited by foreigners. There is a heightened threat of terrorist attacks in or around religious sites and during religious festivals.
There is hope, as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received his 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, for his bold leadership and his outreach to Eritrea over border disputes which has seen frequent insurgency and violence in border regions. While there is a lot of work to be done to bring peace to the region there is hope. In the present, the situation remains mainly unchanged. There are frequent incidences of civil unrest in Ethiopia, including protests and strikes. Some of these can cause temporary closure of roads or disruption to local business and transport, and in the past some have escalated into serious violence.
Most visits to The Gambia are trouble-free, however, independent-travellers are at increased risk due to the lack of local support in the event of an emergency. There are a number of checkpoints operating in and around the capital. Expect your vehicle to be searched if you’re stopped by security forces. There has been an increase in the number and frequency of protests in The Gambia, primarily in the Kombo districts. You should avoid large gatherings in public areas, and follow the advice of local authorities. Terrorist attacks can’t be ruled out.
Tensions continued to rise between supporters and opponents of the third term for President Condé ahead of 2020 presidential elections. In addition, Road travel can be hazardous due to poor driving standards and the state of the roads. Essential supplies, such as fuel, may run low from time to time. You should avoid travelling at night outside Conakry. Motorists have encountered theft at gunpoint, particularly at night.
Guinea-Bissau suffers from political instability On 18 June 2019, José Mário Vaz, President of Guinea-Bissau, announced his intention to hold Presidential elections on 24 November 2019. In the run-up to the elections, there may be an increase in protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings, which you should avoid. The risk of terrorist attacks can not be ruled out.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorism, including terrorist kidnappings, across Kenya, including to people travelling in or through Nairobi, the coast and resort areas around Mombasa and Malindi and their surrounding areas, and the northern border counties. Attacks, including terrorist kidnappings, could target Westerners, including British nationals. Attacks could be indiscriminate in places frequented by foreigners including hotels, bars, restaurants, sports bars and nightclubs, sporting events, supermarkets, shopping centres, commercial buildings, coastal areas including beaches, government buildings, airports, buses, trains and other transport hubs. Places of worship including churches and mosques have also been targeted. Be particularly vigilant in these areas.
Since 3 April 2019 there has been a significant build-up of militarised forces in the west of Libya. Sporadic armed clashes have taken place to the south and west of Tripoli. Forces opposed to the recognised government have reportedly gained control over a number of towns. Inter-militia fighting has periodically caused the temporary suspension or closure of airports, closed roads and led to the closure of some border crossings. All airports are vulnerable to attack. There remains a high threat throughout the country of terrorist attacks and kidnap against foreigners.
In Malawi, protesters continued to push their claim that President Mutharika won re-election through fraud; violence between protesters and security forces could rise in October.
Communal and militant violence fell in Mali’s central regions, thanks in part to a growing number of local dialogue initiatives, however, the risk of terrorist activity continues as does the risk of violent crime.
Mozambique’s former armed opposition group Renamo signed a peace deal with the government, formally ending decades of hostilities. Notwithstanding terrorist attacks continue to be likely and the risk of violent crime continues to be high.
Jihadist groups continued violent attacks, including suicide car bombing on military targets and abduction of civilians, in the west near Mali and in the south-east near Nigeria.
Nigeria is confronted by multiple security challenges, notably the resilient Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the northeast, long-running discontent and militancy in the Niger Delta, increasing violence between herders and farming communities spreading from the central belt southward, and separatist Biafra agitation in the Igbo south-east. Violence, particularly by the Boko Haram insurgency, has displaced more than two million people, created a massive humanitarian crisis and prompted the rise of civilian vigilante self-defence groups that pose new policy dilemmas and possible security risks.
|RWANDA & UGANDA
Relations between Rwanda and Uganda continued to fray. The situation continues to deteriorate.
Presidential polls in Somalia’s Jubaland federal-state deepened political divisions, as opposition candidates barred from running and the federal government in Mogadishu rejected the incumbent’s victory; this could lead to Al-Shabaab stepping up attacks in capital Mogadishu and elsewhere in the south, tensions persisted between federal govt and federal member states and between it and breakaway Somaliland.
Fighting flared in several areas, political parties struck deal unblocking electoral process, and relations with Somalia, which claims sovereignty over Somaliland, remained fraught.
In Sudan, the ruling military council and opposition coalition signed a landmark constitutional declaration and power-sharing accord, beginning a three-year transitional period until elections.
Levels of intercommunal violence remain high across the country, and there are sporadic reports of fighting between armed groups in certain areas. It is possible that such violence will increase in the run-up to, and beyond, the 12 November deadline for the formation of a new Transitional Government of National Unity. There are also regular reports of serious criminality in Juba, particularly during the hours of darkness.
Ahead of presidential and legislative elections scheduled for late 2019, tensions heightened as ruling majority tried to bar potential candidates, President Essebsi suffered “health crisis” and two suicide bombings rocked capital Tunis.
As Zimbabwe’s economic crisis deepened, the security forces cracked down on protests, while the frequency of attacks on opposition members and activists rose. Amid the deepening economic crisis, power shortages and rising inflation attempts to initiate political dialogue remained deadlocked.
Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Far East
Tensions grew in the South China Sea as both Vietnam and the Philippines protested Chinese incursions into disputed waters, while a U.S. warship sailed near Chinese-claimed islands, angering Beijing.
In light of ongoing protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong, there are reports of greater scrutiny from mainland authorities at border crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong. This includes reports that travellers’ electronic devices have been checked at border crossings. You should be aware that the thresholds for detention and prosecution in China differ from those in Hong Kong.
Police have the power to detain or prevent you from leaving China if you’re involved in or connected to a business and/or civil dispute.
Territorial disputes between China and neighbouring countries have caused high regional tension.
The situation in Kyiv and other areas outside Donetsk and Luhansk is generally calm. However, events in Ukraine are fast-moving. You should remain vigilant throughout Ukraine. The security situation in the south-eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine remains highly unstable with ongoing clashes between Ukrainian armed forces and Russian-backed armed separatists.
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.
The situation remains extremely volatile and dangerous. Fighting intensified in north-western Syria as pro-government forces advanced into rebel-held Idlib, targeting the Turkish military.
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.
Relations between Iran and its allies on one side and the U.S. and its allies on other remained tense as maritime confrontations intensified and Iran breached limits of 2015 nuclear deal, raising the risk of military clashes. There is a risk that British nationals, and a significantly higher risk that British-Iranian dual nationals, could be arbitrarily detained or arrested in Iran. The criminal justice process followed in such cases falls below international standards.
Large protests have been taking place in central Baghdad since 1 October. The Iraqi Security Forces have used live ammunition and tear gas against protesters. Other protests have taken place in towns across Iraq. At 0500 on 5 October the Government of Iraq lifted the curfew imposed in Baghdad on 3 October. Some restrictions on movement around the city may still be in place. Governors of Iraqi provinces have the discretion to impose curfews as they deem necessary. If travelling to or around Iraq, you should continue to monitor local media for updates on the situation.
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
The security situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories can be fast-moving, tense and unpredictable. Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including places frequented by foreigners, and on public transport.
The security situation in Yemen remains unstable. Fighting continues across the country, which has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and damaged key infrastructure. Access to food, clean water, fuel and medical supplies is difficult throughout Yemen. There is a high risk of being caught in indiscriminate gunfire or shelling. Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Yemen. There is a very high threat of kidnap and unlawful detention from militia groups, armed tribes, criminals and terrorists such as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Daesh’s official branch in Yemen,
Travel by road throughout the country, but particularly outside the capital Kabul, is extremely dangerous. 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. There is a high threat of kidnapping throughout the country.
Seek professional security advice for all travel and consider using armoured vehicles.
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.
India revoked Kashmir’s special constitutional status, deployed tens of thousands of troops, arrested Kashmiri politicians and put the region under lockdown. Its moves raised the risk that violence erupts, both within the region and between India and neighbouring Pakistan in coming months.
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.
Fighting escalated in Myanmar’s northern Shan State, as an alliance of ethnic armed groups launched coordinated attacks on strategic targets, including on a military academy, killing about fifteen.
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.
Tensions rose markedly between Georgia and its breakaway region of South Ossetia as Russian and de facto South Ossetian border guards resumed efforts to build a fence along the line between Georgia and South Ossetia. In response, Georgia began building police stations in contested areas.
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.
In Kyrgyzstan, supporters of former President Atambayev took up arms to resist special forces’ attempts to arrest him, killing one.
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.
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 inter-communal 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.
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.
Venezuela faces a major political, economic and social crisis, with hyperinflation, acute scarcity of food, medicine and other basic goods and one of the world’s highest murder rates. The opposition has been staging widespread protests against the increasingly totalitarian policies enacted by Maduro’s government. Dozens of demonstrators have been killed.
In Colombia, three senior former FARC rebel commanders, including the group’s former chief negotiator, announced their return to armed struggle, becoming the highest-ranking guerrillas to have reneged on the 2016 peace deal.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Colombia. The security situation can change very quickly in many areas of the country. You should pay close attention to warnings issued by the Colombian authorities. In general, the more remote the area, the greater the potential threat to your safety.
On 4th September, the Guatemalan President declared a State of Siege for a period of 30 days, starting from Saturday 7th September. On 7th October the Government announced that the State of Siege will continue for a further 30 days. Many parts of the country are affected. The State of Siege was declared following reports of violence in the area of El Estor, Izabal. The State of Siege may impact on your ability to move freely. The rainy season in Guatemala normally runs from June to November, coinciding with the hurricane season in the Caribbean. Flash Floods and mud-slides could also impact-free movement by road and rail. Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America. Take care in all parts of the country, including Guatemala City. You should carry personal ID when travelling (certified copies are fine).
With one of the highest homicide rates in South America, Mexico’s homicide rate continued to soar; 2019 is on course to become its deadliest year on record. 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. The hurricane season normally runs from June to November and affects both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Be aware that effects of tropical storms and hurricanes can span hundreds of miles from the centre of the storm, causing flooding, landslides and disruption to local services, including transport.
Recorded its lowest monthly murder rate this century. While 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 the 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.
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.