Monthly Travel Safety Report

Travel Risk Summary – September 2019

Welcome to September

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 SEPTEMBER  ~

  • August saw deadly clashes in Yemen between southern separatists and forces aligned with the internationally-recognised government dimmed prospects for ending the war.
  • Suspected Israeli drone strikes on Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Lebanon ramped up regional tensions.
  • Fighting intensified in Libya’s south, north-west Syria.
  • Fighting intensified in Myanmar’s northern Shan State.
  • In Colombia senior FARC leaders returned to armed struggle.
  • Security in El Salvador improved.
  • Murder rates climbed in Mexico.
  • In Asia, tensions rose in the South China Sea.
  • Clashes erupted in Indonesia over the treatment of Papuans.
  • India’s change to Kashmir’s status could fuel violence.
  • Presidential polls in Somalia’s Jubaland state deepened divisions.
  • Intercommunal attacks rose in eastern Chad.
  • Violence in Cameroon’s Anglophone west could increase in the coming month.
  • Repression intensified in Burundi.
  • Authorities cracked down on protesters in Zimbabwe.
  • Friction between opposition protesters and Malawi’s security forces could rise in September.
  • In Europe, tensions rose between Georgia and breakaway region South Ossetia.
  • In Kyrgyzstan political rivalry led to a shoot-out.
  • On a positive note, Sudan’s protagonists agreed on structures to rule until elections.
  • Mozambique’s warring parties officially ended hostilities.
  • Dialogue initiatives reduced violence in Mali’s centre
  • Talks to end the U.S.-Taliban conflict in Afghanistan could lead to a framework agreement in the coming weeks.

Weather Hazards & Natural Disasters

EARTHQUAKES TONGA – September 4th – Magnitude 5.7: In the past 30-days to date Tonga has experienced 13 earthquakesFIJI – September 1st – Magnitude 6.6: In the past 30 days Japan has experienced 40 earthquakes
TROPICAL CYCLONES/HURRICANES/ TYPHOONS USA & BAHAMAS – On 27th August Hurricane Dorian was sweeping North-west along the Caribbean and Bahamas, with wind speeds of between 150 – 170 Km per hour. By the 5th September wind speeds increased as the hurricane approached Florida and South Carolina to 258Km per hour, then eased to 150KM per hour as it approached Cape Canaveral. On September 1st Hurrican Dorian was rated as a Category 5 Hurricane, by the time it reached Florida and Southe Carolina it was downgraded to a Category 4 Hurricane and by the 5th September it had been downgraded again to a category 2 Hurricane – along with the high winds, there were heavy rain and storm surges.

To date 5 people have been known to have died and some 13,000 properties destroyed.

JAPAN, KOREA, REPUBLIC OF, KOREA, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA & PHILIPPINES – On the 2nd September Hurricane Lingling formed in the western Pacific and as wind speed rose it has threatened Japan, Korea, Republic of, Korea, Democratic People's Republic of China and the Philippines. Estimated wind speeds are around 225 Km per hour; classing the hurricane at Category 4. Along with high winds and rain storm surges of  1.9 meters. The hurricane has yet to dissipate as it makes its way north-west to China. The damage and possible death toll have yet to be evaluated.

JAPAN is at risk of being threatened by a second hurricane which is currently forming off its eastern shores in the western Pacific. Hurricane Fourteen currently has wind speeds of 185Km per hour, is currently rated as a Category 3 Hurricane. The next few days will be quite telling as Hurricane Fourteen makes its way to landfall in Japan. Landfall is anticipated between the 5 & 8 September and as well as strong wind and heavy rain a storm surge of around 0.6 of a meter is expected.

The Hurricane Season across the Caribbean/ Bahamas/Florida and Carolina’s is from 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

FLOODS USA: With the Hurricane Season in full swing, flooding can be expected in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi.

JAPAN: Again with the typhoon season in full swing areas affected by the typhoons will be affected by flooding, the same goes for KOREA, REPUBLIC OF, KOREA, DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA & PHILIPPINES

VOLCANOES There was significant Volcanic activity in August, however to date there have been no recorded quakes or eruptions so far.
DROUGHTS Drought across many areas of the world seems to have eased in the short term. So far this year,

  • Central America has experienced 14-weeks of drought.
  • Eastern Bolivia has experienced 37 weeks of drought.
  • India & Sir Lanka has also experienced 37 weeks of drought.
  • Mainland South East Asia has experienced 41 weeks of drought conditions.
  • Europe has experienced 29 weeks of drought conditions.

Disease Alert

The situation for disease outbreaks remains unchanged.

CHOLERA
Nigeria
Cameroon
Ethiopia
Kenya
Tanzania
Zambia
Mozambique
DENGUE OUTBREAK

Honduras

EBOLA
Democratic Republic of Congo
Uganda
HEMORRHAGIC FEVER
South Africa
LASSA FEVER

Honduras

MEASLES
Democratic Republic of Congo
South Sudan
POLIO
Afghanistan
Cameroon
Democratic Republic of Congo  Ethiopia
Islamic Republic of Iran
Mozambique
Niger
Nigeria
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Somalia
 

2019 Security Risk Legend

AFRICA

Africa - Mapping Crisis, Conflict & Risk

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.  

ADVICE:
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.

High Risk Area ALGERIA

The situation in Algeria remains unchanged. The Interim govt and security forces responded to weekly nationwide protests demanding regime change with repression and some concessions; in September the country could enter constitutional void when interim president’s term ends possibly triggering more intense protests and repression.

ANGOLA

The situation remains unchanged, separatist militants in Angola’s Cabinda exclave announced they would resume their armed struggle.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High BURKINA FASO

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.

Moderately High Risk BURUNDI
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.
Escalating Risk from High to Very High CAMEROON

A military court in Cameroon handed down life sentences to ten Anglophone separatist leaders, sparking a rise in clashes in the Anglophone regions. Violence could escalate further in September if separatists seek to impose by force a promised lockdown.

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.

High Risk Area The CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC        
Violence between armed groups continued in capital Bangui and provinces, while efforts to disarm, demobilise and reintegrate rebel fighters advanced slightly in the west.
CHAD

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.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

The World Health Organisation declared the Ebola Virus outbreak a Global Health Emergency. In addition, the 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.

Moderately High to High Risk EGYPT

Clashes between security forces and Islamic State (ISIS) Sinai Province continued in Sinai and death of former President Morsi in detention sparked accusations of govt responsibility. Tourist destinations continue to be vulnerable to the terrorist threat.

High Risk Area ETHIOPIA
The situation in Ethiopia remains 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.
Moderately High to High Risk GAMBIA
Hundreds marched in the capital Banjul in support of victims of sexual violence demanding better laws to prevent abuse. Protests came a week after a report from NGO Human Rights Watch detailed how former President Jammeh used his power as well as state institutions to entrap and sexually abuse young women.  Further protests erupted in Serrekunda near Banjul, sparked by death in custody of young trader, during which protesters attacked the police station and police fired tear gas at protesters.
Moderately High to High Risk GUINEA
Tensions continued to rise between supporters and opponents of the third term for President Condé ahead of 2020 presidential elections.
Moderately High Risk GUINEA-BISSAU
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 to terrorist attacks can not be ruled out.
High Risk Area KENYA
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.
LYBIA
In Libya, the war dragged on in and around Tripoli between armed groups aligned with the UN-backed government and those supporting Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). Hostilities escalated in the south, where clashes between militias aligned with the main rivals left over 100 dead. The death toll has been pushed to over 800 since early April. Both sides relied heavily on airpower and continued to receive military support from regional allies.
Moderately High to High Risk MALAWI
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 September if Constitutional Court dismisses the opposition’s case to overturn the result.
Escalating Risk from High to Very High MALI
Communal and militant violence fell inMali’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
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.
Escalating Risk from High to Very High NIGER
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.
Escalating Risk from High to Very High NIGERIA

Boko Haram (BH) continued attacks in the northeast, criminal violence persisted in north-west. On the 2nd September there was a peaceful protect outside the British Embassy, there have also been recent attacks and demonstrations directed at South African owned businesses in several cities in Nigeria. Ethnic and herder-farmer violence persisted in the north centre. In the northeast, the military kept up counter-insurgency.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High RWANDA & UGANDA

Relations between Rwanda and Uganda continued to fray. The situation continues to deteriorate.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High SOMALIA

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.

High Risk Area SOMALILAND
Fighting flared in several areas, political parties struck deal unblocking electoral process, and relations with Somalia, which claims sovereignty over Somaliland, remained fraught.
SUDAN

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.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High SOUTH SUDAN

Political unrest and violent resistance to government proposed transition to the Unity Government. Fighting between rebels and government forces have continued and are expected to continue in September.

Moderately High to High Risk TUNISIA
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.
Moderately High to High Risk ZIMBABWE

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

Mapping Risk, Crisis and conflict across Europe and the Middle East

Moderately High Risk CHINA

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.

High Risk Area UKRAINE
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.
Moderately High to High Risk AZERBAIJAN
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.
LEBANON
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.

SYRIA
The situation remains extremely volatile and dangerous. Fighting intensified in north-western Syriaas 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.

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 activities 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.

High Risk Area IRAN

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.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High IRAQ
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.

High Risk Area ISRAEL / PALESTINE

Suspected Israeli drone strikes on Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Lebanon sparked outrage in both countries and further strained Baghdad’s policy of neutrality amid U.S.-Iran tensions.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High YEMEN
In Yemen, southern separatists aligned with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seized the city of Aden from the Saudi-backed internationally-recognised government of President Hadi on 10 August. The fighting left at least 40 dead. Violence could escalate in coming weeks as the two factions seek to gain the upper hand.
AFGANISTAN
U.S. and Afghanistan’s Taliban made progress in talks and could announce a deal in September. But the conflict continued to exact an excruciatingly high toll on civilians.

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.

High Risk Area PAKISTAN
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.

Escalating Risk from High to Very High INDIA
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 will erupt, 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.

High Risk Area BANGLADESH
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.

High Risk Area MYANMAR

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.

Moderately High to High Risk GEORGIA

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.

High Risk Area UZBEKISTAN
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.

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.

High Risk Area KYRGYZSTAN
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.

High Risk Area TAJIKISTAN
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.

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.

High Risk Area NORTH KOREA
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.
Moderately High to High Risk SRI LANKA

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.

High Risk Area PAPUA NEW GUINEA

In Indonesia’s Papua region, large demonstrations against the mistreatment of Papuans resulted in violent clashes with security forces.

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.

AMERICA'S

Mapping Crisis, Conflict and Risk across the America's

Escalating Risk from High to Very High VENEZUELA
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.
Escalating Risk from High to Very High COLUMBIA
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.

High Risk Area GUATEMALA
In Guatemala, the government stepped up its attacks on judicial institutions fighting corruption; however political tensions continue.
Escalating Risk from High to Very High MEXICO
August saw 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 serious 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.

EL SALVADOR
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.
High Risk Area HAITI

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.

High Risk Area HONDURAS
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.

High Risk Area NICARAGUA
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.

High Risk Area EQUADOR
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.

High Risk Area PERU
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.

De-escalation from Moderately High Risk to Moderate Risk FRENCH GUIANA

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.

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