Travel

Control Risks

You can contact the following Alarm Centres:

Americas: (1) (215) 942 8226
Asia & the Pacific: (65) 6338 7800
Europe & Africa: (44) (20) 8762 8008
Paris, France: (33) 155 633 155

Adviced provided in these alerts represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd. Adice in these alerts does not however provide a warranty of future results nor a guarantee against risk.

2011 AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Control Risks Groups Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction (other than for authorised internal purposes) is prohibited except with the prior written consent of the copyright owners.

Travel Alerts

 

20 May 2015

United Kingdom: Expect disruption to rail services during 24-hour nationwide strike from 25 May

Members should expect disruption to rail services during a 24-hour nationwide strike from 17.00 (local time) on 25 May by members of the RMT and TSSA unions. The industrial action has been called to demand better pay and working conditions. In addition, the union has asked its member to not undertake any overtime, extended shifts or additional working hours from 00.01 on 25 May until 23.59 the following day.

Travel Advice

  • If the strike goes ahead as planned, it is likely to severely affect rail services, including Eurostar, London Underground (tube), Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express the latter two connecting the capital London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to the city centre.
  • Reconfirm schedules with the relevant service provider before setting out. Consult the websites of Transport for London and National Rail Enquiries for information on train schedules.
  • Consider alternative transport options, such as taxis or hire cars, for important journeys. Pre-book taxis and rental cars as there may be increased demand for them during the work stoppage.
  • Allow plenty of time to complete journeys in London on 26 May due to potentially increased traffic congestion as commuters may use private vehicles to travel to and from home.
  • The walkout may be called off as negotiations are ongoing between the unions and the authorities. Monitor our travel security alerts on the UK for related developments.

 

18 May 2015

Special Advisory – Turkey: Adana, Mersin: Explosions highlight ethnic, political tensions as parliamentary polls approach (Revised 12.43 GMT)Near-simultaneous explosions at offices of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) injured six people early on 18 May in the southern cities of Adana (Adana province) and Mersin (Mersin province). The pro-Kurdish HDP has been targeted in dozens of low-level attacks around the country over the past month, very few of which have entailed the use of weapons or posed significant security threats to travellers.

The timing and location of the bombings suggests that they were co-ordinated, and reports indicate that the devices were delivered to the party offices in packages. The blasts represent the most serious in a series of attacks targeting HDP interests in the country during the pre-election period. While members should exercise heightened caution in the vicinity of political offices, installations and events during the election period, normal travel to Turkey can still proceed.

Travel Briefing

The parliamentary elections will take place on 7 June and further such incidents are likely ahead of the vote. While the HDP has been the primary target of such attacks, precedent from the nationwide local elections of March 2014 suggests that pre-poll political violence may also be directed at interests of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) or other political groupings in various areas. These are likely to be targeted incidents that entail minimal security risks for foreign visitors, though the latest explosions highlight the occasional potential for more serious attacks that can involve incidental risks to members.

Incidents of unrest related to the polls is also likely in the weeks ahead. Like other forms of political violence, such events would be directed at political interests (particularly those of the HDP, based on recent trends) and galvanised by political or socio-economic issues, therefore posing only incidental security risks to bystanders. Recently, activists attacked an HDP election office in Corlu (Tekirdag province) on 15 May during the facility’s inauguration ceremony. Additionally, in another recent instance of political violence, an HDP election office in the commercial capital Istanbul’s Sultangazi area was attacked early on 17 May.

Election security

The government on 15 May announced finalised security and safety measures to be implemented for the polls. The measures include a focus on ensuring security in southern and eastern regions that are more prone to political unrest, and where the majority ethnic-Kurdish population may feel threatened by recent attacks against the HDP. A scenario in which the HDP performs poorly at the polls could trigger violence by militant Kurdish groups and complicate the currently paused peace process between the government and the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Travel Advice Summary

  • Normal travel to Turkey can continue, though additional precautions are advised for trips to parts of the south-east and areas bordering Syria.
  • Exercise heightened caution and limit time spend in the vicinity of HDP and other political party offices, installations and events during the election period.
  • Follow all instructions issued by the security forces, and carry identification – especially around the south-east – to facilitate passage through any checkpoints.
  • Visit our Turkey pages for further information and advice regarding travel to the country.

 

18 May 2015

Special Advisory – Turkey: Adana, Mersin: Avoid vicinity of political party offices following explosionsTwo simultaneous explosions were reported at around 09.55 (local time) on 18 May at the provincial offices of the Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the cities of Adana (Adana province) and Mersin (Mersin province). At least 10 people have been injured in the blasts. The security forces have cordoned off the vicinities of both explosions. Unconfirmed reports indicate confrontations between locals and the security forces following the incident in Mersin, which occurred ahead of a planned HDP rally in the city.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Avoid the vicinity of the HDP offices where the explosions took place.
  • Avoid locations associated with political groups, particularly Kurdish political parties.
  • Follow all instructions issued by the security forces.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Turkey for related updates.

 

 

17 May 2015

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Kabul: Suicide bombing underscores need to avoid non-essential travel due to persistent militancy (Revised 07.15 GMT)At least three people, including a foreign national, were killed and 18 others injured in a suicide car bombing at around 09.00 (local time) on 17 May on Airport Road near the capital Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL). The penetrator targeted a convoy of the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL Afghanistan) in the Hawa Shinasi area (Police District 9), not far from an entrance to the airport typically used by foreign military vehicles. EUPOL have said that one person in a convoy vehicle was killed and three others were injured. The police have cordoned off the site. The incident serves as a reminder that travel to Afghanistan should be for essential purposes only.Travel Briefing

While there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack so far, precedents indicate that the likelihood of it being perpetrated by the Taliban. Follow-up security and clean-up operations will necessitate ongoing traffic restrictions and stringent security checks along Airport Road. Members should allow additional travel time, especially if undertaking journeys to or from the airport, and carry personal identification to ease movement through checkpoints.

Diplomatic facilities, compounds and convoys linked to the international presence in the country continue to represent high-value targets for insurgents, though the majority of militant operations focus on the government and the local security forces. Two people were killed and 13 others injured in a similar attack on 5 January on a EUPOL vehicle on Jalalabad Road in Kabul; however, no EUPOL members were injured in the incident. Members should therefore minimise movement outside secure premises as well as time spent near personnel, buildings and vehicles associated with the aforementioned insurgent targets.

As such, militant activity – which may take the form of bombings, suicide and rocket attacks, co-ordinated assaults and kidnappings – continues to pose significant direct and indirect risks to travellers in the capital, where the travel risks are rated as EXTREME.

Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to Afghanistan should be for essential purposes only.
  • Anticipate increased spot-checks in the aftermath of security incidents as the security forces conduct investigations; allow additional travel time and carry personal identification to ease movement through checkpoints.
  • While in-country, members should employ 24/7 professional security support to ensure access to the latest locally sourced threat intelligence, trip-specific assessments, operations-room tracking, reliable communications and immediate access to emergency support. Armoured vehicles are recommended for all road movement.
  • Minimise movement outside secure premises and the time spent around likely targets for insurgent attack, both static and in transit.
  • Accommodation should be arranged in secure compounds, hotels or villas, with adequate assessed security arrangements that can support a stand-fast period of up to 96 hours.

 

 

16 May 2015

Special Advisory – Nigeria: Damaturu: Avoid vicinity of fatal bombing at bus station

Reports indicate that at least seven people were killed and more than 20 others injured at around 11.00 (local time) on 16 May in a bomb explosion at a bus station in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state.Travel Advice

  • Avoid the vicinity of the incident until the situation stabilises.
  • Account for staff.
  • Anticipate increased stop-checks as the security forces conduct investigations; allow additional time for travel.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts for updates.

 

14 May 2015

Burundi: STAND BY: Evacuation level raised due to increased risk of insecurity, lawlessness amid security force stand-offHeavy fighting between rival factions of the security forces on 14 May in the capital Bujumbura marked a deterioration in the security situation following a coup attempt on 13 May. The coup attempt triggered a stand-off between factions supporting and opposing the move against President Pierre Nkurunziza. We are raising our evacuation planning level for Burundi from Warning to STAND BY.Travel Briefing It has become clear on 14 May that sections of the security forces, including among the military and police forces, oppose the coup and remain in control of key institutions. This follows a period of uncertainty on 13 May after Maj-Gen Godefroid Niyombare announced the alleged ‘dismissal’ of Nkurunziza and his government and their replacement by a National Salvation Committee.

The breakdown of talks between the pro- and anti-coup forces overnight on 13-14 May and a subsequent announcement by the army’s chief of staff – a loyalist – that the coup had failed were accompanied by heavy fighting in Bujumbura around the state broadcaster RTNB and attacks on private radio stations by loyalist forces. These attacks reportedly involved lootings – the first during this crisis. The stand-off is ongoing and there is a risk of escalation, barring fresh talks leading to a negotiated solution.

This escalation could take the form of a further deterioration in the security environment, including attacks on military barracks, or a greater involvement by the Imbonerakure – Nkurunziza’s ruling CNDD-FDD’s youth militia – in politically motivated violence against opposition targets. This would likely create a climate of widespread insecurity. A crackdown on further protests could also occur, possibly involving the use of live ammunition, especially by police officers.

For in-country members, the situation will require close monitoring. Members may be required to stand fast for up to a week. If they are not confident in their security arrangements they may consider booking flights out of the country for use once the borders and Bujumbura International Airport (BJM) reopen, and the situation allows them to undertake the necessary road move, with adequate security support.

Travel Advice Summary

Members in Burundi

  • Members in Bujumbura should stand fast until the situation stabilises. In the event of gunfire occurring, stay away from windows as a precautionary measure.
  • Members in other locations should minimise movement.
  • Maintain regular contact with your local support network and/or line manager.
  • Members living in unrest-affected residential areas should consider relocating to a safer location. The road move should only be conducted after a risk assessment – taking in the routes to be taken, the support to be used and any incidents in the area – is completed. If undertaking essential moves, leave an area at the first sign of unrest and do not attempt to cross protesters’ barricades as this may elicit a hostile response from demonstrators and/or the security forces.
  • Do not attempt to reach Bujumbura International Airport, which is currently closed. If you have a flight booking out of Bujumbura for the next 48-72 hours, reconfirm it prior to setting out even if the airport and borders have reopened, as airlines may cancel flights due to the unrest.
  • Closely monitor related developments through media such as Radio France International (RFI) and our travel security alerts.
  • Regarding security at your accommodation, highlight any issues to management personnel immediately. Those in compounds or in locations with a physical security presence should ensure they are briefed on any emergency procedures and gathering locations.
  • Members should maintain stocks of essential supplies at their accommodation; preparations should include gathering stockpiles of food, water and back-up power, as well as gasoil supplies.
  • Members should ensure their communications devices are fully charged, regularly tested and have emergency numbers pre-programmed. Mobile coverage and internet services can be suspended by the authorities during a security crisis.
  • Register with your embassy and all available warden networks.

Members intending to travel to Burundi

  • Defer all travel to Burundi until further notice due to a recent deterioration in the security situation and increased risks to travellers.

Security managers

  • Identify essential and non-essential staff requirements: keep an accurate record of the location and contact details of all personnel, including, where relevant, visitors and dependents.
  • Review evacuation plans, including the availability of commercial and charter flights, to anticipate any further deterioration of the situation and the impact of potential suspension of flights.
  • Ensure the evacuation plan includes preparation for periods of stand-fast and that appropriate supplies and communications are sourced as a priority.
  • Anticipate the likely disruption of telecommunications services; ensure you have ‘no-communications’ plans.
  • Continue to monitor the security situation closely and ensure quick and effective dissemination of time-sensitive information among local staff.

 

13 May 2015

Special Advisory – Burundi: Defer all travel as army general claims ‘dismissal’ of presidentMembers currently in Burundi should stand fast at a secure location after an army officer, Gen Godefroid Nyombare, on 13 May announced that he was dismissing President Pierre Nkurunziza and the latter’s government. Nyombare cited the president’s controversial decision to seek a third term in office as a reason for the alleged dismissal. However, a senior presidential aide subsequently denied Nyombare’s claim.Media reports indicate that soldiers have surrounded the state radio and TV broadcaster (RTNB)’s offices in the capital Bujumbura. Members planning to travel to the country should defer all travel until further notice.Travel Advice

  • Defer all travel to Burundi.
  • Members currently in Burundi should stand fast at their accommodation and establish contact with their line manager.
  • Monitor our website for further updates.

 

13 May 2015

Special Advisory – Pakistan: Karachi: Gun attack on Ismaili Shia Muslims underlines persistent militancy, associated travel risks (Revised 07.48 GMT)

At least 30 people on 13 May were killed and around 20 others injured when unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on a passenger bus carrying members of the Ismaili Shia Muslim community in the Safoora Chowk area of Karachi (Sindh province). The security forces have cordoned off the site.The incident underlines that militancy is a serious concern in Karachi, contributing to the city’s HIGH travel security risk rating. While travel to parts of the city is possible with stringent security precautions, members should monitor developments and be prepared to be flexible in their travel arrangements.Travel BriefingMilitant attacks mainly focus on military and government personnel and assets. However, soft targets associated with minority religious communities – such as Shias – are also regularly targeted; a number of Islamist extremist groups, including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP – the Pakistani Taliban) and the anti-Shia organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, maintain a strong presence in the city.The TTP has also stepped up attacks on government targets, particularly in Karachi and other major cities, in retaliation for an escalation in anti-militant operations over the past year. While the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers-led crackdown has had some success in decreasing the levels of violence in Karachi since its launch in September 2013, the initiative can be expected to trigger further attacks on security officials and assets in the city.The scale of the 13 May attack means that anti-sectarianism protests by Shia groups are likely to take place in the coming days. Shia organisations are increasingly mobilising against sectarian violence and to demand greater government protection. Members should avoid all such gatherings due to the risk of violence: protests regularly descend into clashes with security forces, and Shia demonstrations have previously been targeted by militants.Travel Advice Summary

  • Travel to parts of Karachi is possible with stringent security precautions, though travellers should be aware that short, intense bouts of social unrest, sectarian violence or terrorist attacks may require that travel to, and movement within, the country be restricted with little warning. Monitor events and be prepared to be flexible in your travel arrangements.
  • Exercise due diligence when choosing accommodation; only business-class hotels or secure residential compounds should be considered.
  • Maintain heightened awareness at all times and minimise your exposure to likely targets for terrorist attacks, both stationary and in transit; these include: security force personnel and installations, mosques, or facilities associated with the minority Shia communities and densely populated unsecured areas, such as markets.
  • Avoid all travel to the following neighbourhoods of Karachi: Baldia, Landhi, Lyari, New Karachi, Orangi, Sachal Goth, Shah Faisal Colony, SITE, Sohrab Goth and Surjani. If travel is essential, it should be conducted with professional security support.
  • This advice is not exhaustive; contact your nearest Assistance Centre for profile- and itinerary-specific advice.

 

13 May 2015

Special Advisory – Afghanistan: Lashkar Gah: Avoid vicinity of ongoing militant attack near governor’s officeAt least three people, including two police officers, on 13 May have been killed and 11 others injured in an ongoing attack by gunmen in Lashkar Gah (Helmand province). Reports indicate that the assailants, who were dressed in police uniforms, at around 10.00 (local time) entered either the Hajj and Religious Affairs Department or a mosque near the governor’s office and took hostages. The attackers are engaged in a shoot-out with the security forces, and the area has been cordoned off.Travel Advice

  • Travel to Afghanistan should be for essential purposes only.
  • Members in Lashkar Gah should avoid the vicinity of the incident and surrounding areas until the situation is resolved.
  • Account for staff.
  • Anticipate increased spot-checks as the security forces gather at the site; allow additional travel time and carry personal identification to ease movement through checkpoints.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts for updates.

 

 

12 May 2015

Special Advisory – India: Northern India: Anticipate disruption following magnitude 7.4 earthquake in Nepal

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck around 52 miles (83km) northeast of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu at around 12.35 (India standard time). According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred at a depth of around 11.5 miles (18.5km). While details are still emerging, early reports indicate that within India strong tremors were felt across the capital Delhi, the northern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh, the eastern state of West Bengal, and the north-eastern state of Assam. Delhi metro operations are currently disrupted.Travel Advice

  • Account for staff.
  • Aftershocks of varying magnitudes could pose a risk to life and property, as well as cause further damage to already weakened structures; do not re-enter or access damaged structures.
  • Localised travel disruption will occur in areas affected by the earthquake. If undertaking road travel, be aware that routes may be blocked by debris or subject to closure by the authorities with little or no notice.
  • Abide by all directives issued by the local authorities in the affected area; monitor out travel security alerts for related updates.

 

 

12 May 2015

Special Advisory – China: Account for personnel, anticipate disruption following magnitude 7.4 earthquakeA magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck around 14 miles (22km) southeast of Zham (Tibet Autonomous Region) at around 15.05 (local time), near to the Nepal border. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred at a depth of around 11.5 miles (18.5km). Details are emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Aftershocks of varying magnitudes could pose a risk to life and property, as well as cause further damage to already weakened structures; do not re-enter or access damaged structures.
  • Localised travel disruption will occur in areas affected by the earthquake. If undertaking road travel, be aware that routes may be blocked by debris or subject to closure by the authorities with little or no notice.
  • Abide by all directives issued by the local authorities in the affected area; monitor our travel security alerts for related updates.

 

12 May 2015

Special Advisory – Nepal: Account for personnel, anticipate disruption following magnitude 7.4 earthquakeA magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck around 52 miles (83km) northeast of the capital Kathmandu at around 12.50 (local time) on 12 May. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred at a depth of around 11.5 miles (18.5km). Details are emerging.Travel Advice

  • Account for personnel.
  • Aftershocks of varying magnitudes could pose a risk to life and property, as well as cause further damage to already weakened structures; do not re-enter or access damaged structures.
  • Localised travel disruption will occur in areas affected by the earthquake. If undertaking road travel, be aware that routes may be blocked by debris or subject to closure by the authorities with little or no notice.
  • Abide by all directives issued by the local authorities in the affected area; monitor our travel security alerts for related updates.
7 May 2015

Special Advisory – Papua New Guinea: Tsunami warning issued following magnitude 7.2 offshore earthquake

A magnitude 7.2 offshore earthquake at 18.00 (local time) on 7 May struck 93 miles (149km) south-west of Panguna (Bougainville province). The earthquake occurred at a depth of 13.7 miles (22.1km). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has said that hazardous tsunami waves are possible within 186 miles (300km) of the epicentre along the country’s coasts. The Global Disaster and Alert and Coordination System has said that waves of up to 0.6 feet (0.2 metres) are possible. Travellers should consult the PTWC website for information on the estimated arrival times of such waves.Travel Advice

  • Avoid low-lying coastal areas and beaches in affected areas in the coming hours or until the tsunami warning is lifted. Follow all directives issued by the emergency services, especially in coastal areas.
  • Aftershocks could pose risks to life and property and may cause further damage to already weakened structures. Be alert to the dangers posed by structural damage to buildings and bridges;
  • Anticipate possible disruption to travel and essential services in earthquake-affected areas.
  • Monitor and our travel security alerts for further updates.

 

7 May 2015

Special Advisory – Solomon Islands: Tsunami warning issued following magnitude 7.2 offshore earthquakeA magnitude 7.2 offshore earthquake at 18.00 (local time) on 7 May struck 93 miles (149km) south-west of Panguna (Papua New Guinea). The earthquake occurred at a depth of 13.7 miles (22.1km). The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) has said that hazardous tsunami waves are possible within 186 miles (300km) of the epicentre along the country’s coasts. The Global Disaster and Alert and Coordination System has said that waves of up to 0.6 feet (0.2 metres) are possible. Travellers should consult the PTWC website for information on the estimated arrival times of such waves.Travel Advice

  • Avoid low-lying coastal areas and beaches in affected areas in the coming hours or until the tsunami warning is lifted. Follow all directives issued by the emergency services, especially in coastal areas.
  • Aftershocks could pose risks to life and property and may cause further damage to already weakened structures. Be alert to the dangers posed by structural damage to buildings and bridges;
  • Anticipate possible disruption to travel and essential services in earthquake-affected areas.
  • Monitor and our travel security alerts for further updates.

 

6 May 2015

Special Advisory – Nepal: Defer non-essential travel to areas worst affected by recent earthquakeMembers should defer non-essential travel to Dolakha, Kavre, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Sindhuli (all Central region), Gorkha and Lamjung (both Western region) districts due to significant damage to infrastructure, as well as limited access to medical facilities, caused by the magnitude 7.9 earthquake on 25 April.Travel to other parts of the country, including the capital Kathmandu, can resume provided access to medical care, food, water, shelter and telecommunications (satellite phones are permitted in Nepal) is confirmed before deployment.Travel BriefingWhile the extent of the damage is significant, the situation has notably improved in major urban centres such as Kathmandu and Pokhara (Kaski district, Western region), as well as in areas that only suffered moderate damage (Far Western region, Mid-Western region and Eastern region). However, reconstruction will take significantly longer in the worst-affected districts.Our team of security, medical and logistics experts is currently in Kathmandu, where they are assisting members and further corroborating information. Details of known disruption are listed below.Kathmandu valleySignificant damage has occurred in several tourist areas of Kathmandu, including Balaju, Bhaktapur (immediately outside Kathmandu, Central region), Hanuman Dhoka, Durbar Square area, Sitapaila Chowk , Sundhara and Teku. However, the city’s Thamel area, which is also popular with foreign travellers, as well as Bhatbhateni, Baluwatar, Lazimpat and Panipokhari have sustained limited damage.Kathmandu valley: Transport disruptionCommercial flights at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) continue to operate; delays are beginning to ease and an increasing number of airlines are resuming services to the facility. The large crowds of foreigners and locals that had camped at the airport have now begun to subside.

Buses and taxis are operating within Kathmandu, and movement in the city along main thoroughfares is possible. Travel to the airport should be undertaken only after the status of routes is established and airline reservations are confirmed.

Travel from Kathmandu north to the Chinese border, including via the Araniko Highway, is restricted and a number of roads along the border are impassable. The Prithvi Highway between Kathmandu and Pokhara is also open. The Tribhuvan Highway connecting the capital with Birgunj (Parsa district, Central region), which serves as a primary border crossing with India, is open.

Air travel is recommended. However, travel along the Tribhuvan Highway to Birgunj, as well as along the Prithvi Highway to Pokhara, can continue with a trusted driver or government-sanctioned transport. Do not travel unless you have confirmed that planned routes are clear, and have the ability to respond to further incidents, such as further aftershocks, landslides and blocked roads. All movement should be in daylight hours only. Any movement should be undertaken after obtaining profile- and itinerary-specific advice from your nearest Assistance Centre.

Kathmandu valley: Disruption to essential supplies

Mobile telecommunications networks in the valley are largely functional, though communication remains patchy. Similarly, internet services are only partially functional. Currently, the best way to communicate with personnel in the country is via SMS services. Power supplies have been largely restored.

The shortage of food and water supplies in the city has eased. An increasing number of shops stocked with food, water and basic medicines are open. Petrol stations are open and long lines have eased. Banks have also reopened and some ATMs are functional.

While several hospitals in the city are operational and the authorities have established 16 emergency shelters, access to these facilities is entirely dependent upon evacuations by overwhelmed emergency services and local logistics providers. Furthermore, hospitals and shelters are currently crowded and hospital supplies are overstretched.

Damage to several hotels has put a strain on the availability of accommodation.

Kathmandu valley: Security concerns

There have been no new reports of looting or unrest since 29 April, when isolated incidents of lootings of subsistence materials and abandoned homes were reported, particularly in Lalitpur district (Central region) immediately outside Kathmandu.

On 29 April, frustration over the distribution of aid and the limited ability of residents to travel outside Kathmandu resulted in scuffles between approximately 200 individuals and the security forces at the parliament building in the New Baneshwor area of the city, near the airport, as well as in several other locations in the city. Discontent has been directed towards the authorities, and there have been no incidents of unrest directed at foreigners.

While these incidents have been isolated and swiftly contained by the security forces, the current stability of the security environment will depend on the ability of the authorities to deliver additional relief. The scale of the disaster and the fact that the government and aid agencies are currently overstretched mean that localised, probably minor, outbreaks of disorder are likely in the short term. However, we assess that widespread unrest is unlikely.

Pokhara

Early indications are that structures in the city have fared better than those in Kathmandu, and hotels in the city are able to accommodate guests.

Pokhara: Travel disruption

Local sources have confirmed that Pokhara Airport (PKR) is open to commercial flights.

The Prithvi Highway between Kathmandu and Pokhara is now open. The road between Pokhara and Siddharthanagar (Rupandehi district, Western region), which serves as a border crossing with India, is open.

Air travel is recommended. However, travel along the Prithvi Highway to Kathmandu, as well as along the road between Pokhara and Siddharthanagar, can continue with a trusted driver or government-sanctioned transport. Do not travel unless you have confirmed that planned routes are clear, and have the ability to respond to further incidents, such as further aftershocks, landslides and blocked roads. All movement should be in daylight hours only. Any movement should be undertaken after obtaining profile- and itinerary-specific advice from your nearest Assistance Centre.

Pokhara: Disruption to essential supplies

Telecommunications are functional. SMS services are the best way to communicate with in-country personnel. Essential supplies, such as food and water, are available. Banks have reopened and ATMs are working. Similarly, petrol stations have reopened.

Pokhara: Security concerns

There are currently no indications of incidents of crime, such as the looting of subsistence materials.

The Terai region

The southern Terai region, which lies along the border with India, has suffered significantly less damage. The Mahendra Highway (also known as the East-West Highway) is open. Air travel is recommended. However, travel on roads in the area can continue with a trusted driver or government-sanctioned transport. Do not travel unless you have confirmed that planned routes are clear, and have the ability to respond to further incidents such as further aftershocks, landslides and blocked roads. All movement should be in daylight hours only. Any movement should be undertaken after obtaining profile- and itinerary-specific advice from your nearest Assistance Centre.

Border crossings with India at Birgunj, which lies near Chitwan National Park, as well as at Siddharthanagar, Nepalganj (Banke district, Mid-Western region), Dhangadi (Siraha district, Far Western region) and Mahendranagar (Kanchanpur district, Far Western), are open and allowing the movement of foreigners. India is granting visas-on-arrival to foreigners at the border crossings.

The Indian government has set up relief camps in the districts of Araria, Sitamarhi (both Bihar state, India), Bahraich, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Siddharth Nagar (all Uttar Pradesh state, India), Darjeeling and Pasupati Phatak (both West Bengal state, India). The camps have medical supplies, food and water.

Everest area

Tenzing-Hillary Airport (LUA), located in the town of Lukla and serving Namche Bazaar (the starting point for treks to Everest Base Camp), and the helipad at Namche Bazaar are operating, and commercial flights are departing; all of the approximately 200 trekkers trapped have been moved from Everest Base Camp to Lukla and onwards to Kathmandu. Commercial services from Namche Bazaar to Lukla, as well as from Lukla to Kathmandu, are wholly dependent on weather conditions, which can change drastically within hours.

Road movement from Lukla is not feasible. Members in Lukla should continue to stand fast until air options become available. Lukla did not suffer notable damage in the earthquake: food, water, telecommunications and internet services have not been affected. While the large influx of travellers to the area has put a strain on accommodation, hotels are nonetheless available.

Other areas

The worst-affected areas include the country’s main urban centres in Kathmandu valley, as well as the districts of Dolakha, Gorkha, Kavre, Lamjung, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Sindhuli.

Other areas: Travel disruption

Commercial traffic at other domestic airports has started to resume; due to congestion at Kathmandu’s airport, flights are using other facilities such as Biratnagar Airport (BIR, Morang district, Eastern region), to ferry individuals trapped in remote areas.

Overland travel within areas marked as ‘worst affected’ is severely restricted (only main roads such as the Tribhuvan Highway and the Prithvi Highway are passable).

While air travel is recommended, overland travel on routes outside the ‘worst affected’ areas can continue with a trusted driver or government-sanctioned transport. Robust journey management planning is essential: confirm that planned routes are clear, and that you have the ability to respond to incidents, such as further aftershocks, landslides and blocked roads. All movement should be in daylight hours only. Any movement should be undertaken after obtaining profile and itinerary specific advice from their nearest Assistance centre.

Other areas: Disruption to essential supplies

Telecommunications and power supplies in the worst-affected districts listed above are limited and the authorities have said that at least 80% of the structures in the area have been badly damaged or destroyed. Severe food and water shortages have also been reported in some rural areas, though relief efforts are now reaching these areas that had been isolated in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

Other areas: Security concerns

In the worst-affected districts, there are limited signs of frustration over shortage of food and water supplies, and the alleged slow response of the authorities. This has resulted in clashes between locals and the security forces, as well as an attempt on 29 April by villagers in Sindhupalchowk district to stop aid trucks from delivering their supplies to other areas. On 29 April, villagers in Dolakha vandalised a district headquarters building over the perceived lack of aid. On 5 May, looting of subsistence materials, as well as unspecified security incidents, occurred in Dolakha .

Background

The earthquake struck around 50 miles (80km) north-west of Kathmandu, killing more than 7,000 people and injuring around 13,500 others. Numerous aftershocks measuring more than 4.0 in magnitude have since occurred in the region; the strongest registered at 6.7 in magnitude and occurred on 26 April, around 40 miles (65km) east of Kathmandu.

Travel Advice Summary

International travellers

  • Defer non-essential travel to the worst-affected districts shown on the map; these are: Dolakha, Kavre, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Sindhuli (all Central region), Gorkha and Lamjung (both Western region).
  • Travel to other parts of Nepal, including the capital Kathmandu, can resume, provided access to medical care, food, water, shelter and telecommunications (satellite phones are permitted in Nepal) is confirmed before deployment.
  • Members intending to conduct travel to Nepal should contact their Assistance Centre for a pre-travel briefing covering both medical and safety preparations and the support required to ensure the trip is feasible
  • The Nepal National Emergency Operation Centre numbers are +977-142-001-05 and +977-142-002-57.

In-country staff

  • Members in Kathmandu should ensure that travel to Tribhuvan International Airport is undertaken only after the status of routes is established and airline reservations are confirmed.
  • Except for the Tribhuvan Highway and the Prithvi Highway, defer all overland travel in areas marked on the map as ‘worst affected’. Internal travel to and within these areas should be by air only. Where air movement is not possible, stand fast until infrastructure improves: do not attempt road moves.
  • While air travel is recommended, overland travel on other routes can continue with a trusted driver or government-sanctioned transport. Robust journey management planning is essential: confirm that planned routes are clear, and that you have the ability to respond to incidents, such as further aftershocks, landslides and blocked roads. All movement should be in daylight hours only. Any movement should be undertaken after obtaining profile- and itinerary-specific advice from their nearest Assistance centre.

Travel risk managers

  • Account for and communicate with all in-country staff.
  • Confirm what assistance capabilities are available to your staff in affected areas and ensure they have access to the necessary support (both internal and external) in the event of requiring assistance.
  • Organisations with operations in affected areas should ensure they have implemented their business continuity and crisis management plans.

 

5 May 2015

Special Advisory – Papua New Guinea: East New Britain province: Expect localised disruption following strong earthquake near Kokopo; tsunami threat largely passed

There have been no immediate reports of casualties or major damage after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck at 11.44 (local time) on 5 May, 90 miles (140km) south of Kokopo (the capital of East New Britain province). The earthquake, which was originally measured at 7.5 in magnitude, occurred at a depth of six miles (10km). Unconfirmed reports indicate that some damage to infrastructure occurred in Kokopo and that a major landslide in the Vunabakut area (East New Britain) blocked a road; electricity supplies have also been disrupted in Kokopo and Rabaul. Further information on affected areas is still emerging.The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) at 13.30 issued a final advisory on the incident, saying ‘the tsunami threat has now largely passed’. According to the Geophysical Observatory located in the capital Port Moresby, some tsunami waves of less than three feet (1 meter) occured in the coastal area of the town of Rabaul (East New Britain), but no flooding or significant damage has so far been reported in the area.Travel Briefing Aftershocks of varying magnitudes are possible in the coming hours and days and these could trigger landslides and falling debris, posing risks to life and property and exacerbating any existing damage in affected areas. At least three aftershocks measuring greater than five in magnitude occurred within an hour of the original earthquake.Members should remain alert to dangers resulting from the structural weakening of buildings and bridges and should not re-enter damaged buildings. Travellers should liaise with local contacts to remain apprised of any affected areas and plan journeys accordingly.BackgroundThe earthquake came after at least four strong earthquakes occurred in the region since 30 April. A magnitude 6.8 earthquake on 1 May struck 66 miles (106km) south-south-west of Kokopo, while a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit on 30 April 96 miles (155km) south of Rabaul; no injuries or damage were reported.Travel Advice Summary

  • Follow all directives issued by the emergency services, especially in coastal areas.
  • Aftershocks could pose risks to life and property and may cause further damage to already weakened structures. Be alert to the dangers posed by structural damage to buildings and bridges; do not re-enter damaged buildings.
  • Localised travel disruption is possible in areas affected by the earthquake. Routes may be blocked by debris or subject to closure by the authorities with little or no notice. Ensure that your vehicle is appropriate for the terrain, and always carry adequate communications systems, full spares, and enough fuel to complete your return journey.
  • Monitor and our travel security alerts for further updates.
  • The above advice is not exhaustive; consult the Standing Travel Advice for Papua New Guinea.
2 May 2015

Special Advisory – Mexico: Jalisco, Colima states: Avoid non-essential movement due to violence; defer travel to GuadalajaraAt least seven people were killed and 15 others injured on 1 May in clashes in Jalisco and Colima states between the security forces and armed criminals, which have prompted the authorities to issue a statewide red alert for Jalisco. Members should continue to defer travel to Guadalajara (Jalisco) and should avoid non-essential movement throughout affected areas in Jalisco and Colima states until the situation stabilises.Violence occurred in at least 20 towns throughout Jalisco, including Autlan, El Salto, Jalostotitlán, Puerto Vallarta, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá, Tlajomulco, Tomatlan, Villa Purification, Zapopan, and Zapotlanejo. In Puerto Vallarta, the authorities warned people to remain inside their homes or hotels as a precaution. Related incidents were also reported in areas of neighbouring Colima state.Roadblocks by criminals have been widely reported throughout affected areas, and several buildings have been set alight, including banks and petrol stations. Among the fatalities were three soldiers who were killed when armed gunmen fired on a military helicopter, approximately 150 miles (250 km) south-west of Guadalajara. The violence was apparently prompted by security force operations earlier in the day targeting drug cartel leaders.Travel BriefingThe violence highlight the HIGH travel risks associated with states like Jalisco, where drug related violence occurs frequently, and the possibility of spill-over into nearby states. There has been an uptick in crime and attacks targeting the security forces in Jalisco in recent months associated with the rise in power of the Jalisco Nuevo Generacion drug cartel. The group is likely responsible for the latest violence. The security forces can be expected to respond by deploying additional military personnel to affected areas and undertaking further security operations targeting cartel members. Related violence and sporadic clashes are therefore likely to continue in the coming weeks.Though travellers are not typically targeted in such violence, public shootouts may pose a significant incidental risk to bystanders, particularly in urban areas. Criminals may also hijack vehicles, erect roadblocks and set buildings alight to create chaos and impede security force operations. In the event of such incidents occurring in their vicinity, members should move quickly and calmly to a secure location, and stand fast until the situation stabilises. If accosted by a criminal, travellers should assume that the assailant is armed and do nothing to resist or antagonise them.Travel Advice

  • Defer travel to Guadalajara and avoid non-essential movement throughout affected areas in Jalisco and Colima until the situation stabilises. Avoid non-essential travel to the HIGH travel risk states: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacán, Morelos, Nuevo León, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas.
  • Should a violent situation escalate in your area, stand fast in a secure location until the situation stabilises.
  • Follow all security directives issued by the authorities.
  • Crime poses a significant risk in Mexico and criminals are often armed; take stringent security precautions at all times. If accosted by a criminal, assume that the assailant is armed and do nothing to resist or antagonise them.
  • Personnel should carefully plan all aspects of their itinerary and be confident in their accommodation, transport, communication and security arrangements prior to travel. Measures include travelling with a private vehicle and trusted driver and undertaking movement in daylight hours only. Journey plans should allow sufficient time for delays, such as a breakdown.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Mexico for further developments.

 

1 May 2015

Special Advisory – Papua New Guinea: East New Britain province: Magnitude 7.1 earthquake strikes south-south-west of Kokopo; no tsunami warning issuedAccording to the US Geological Survey, at around 18.06 (local time) on 1 May, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck 72 miles (116km) south-south-west of Kokopo, the capital of East New Britain province. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 38 miles (61km). There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, and no tsunami warning has been issued.Travel Advice

  • Abide by all directives issued by the local authorities in affected areas.
  • Aftershocks of varying magnitudes could pose a risk to life and property, as well as cause further damage to already weakened structures. Stay clear of any damaged buildings or facilities.
  • Localised travel disruption is possible in areas affected by the earthquake. Routes may be blocked by debris or subject to closure by the authorities with little or no notice. Ensure that your vehicle is appropriate for the terrain, and always carry adequate communications systems, full spares, and enough fuel to complete your return journey.
  • Monitor our travel security alerts on Papua New Guinea for further updates.

 

 

 

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