Travel Safety Round-Up: 25/9/2017

This week’s summary of advice and updates from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) once again focuses on areas affected by natural disasters. 

Remember that, as is the case with terrorism, natural disasters may not be covered by your travel insurance policy – or the cover could be limited. Read your policy wording carefully!

If you’re concerned about terrorism affecting your travel plans, you can top up your travel insurance to cover terrorism – including disinclination to travel* – from only £4.96 per person**

 

Country Date  
     
 Turks and Caicos Islands

24-09-2017 17:19 PM GMT

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the island of Grand Turk. This advice does not apply to the remainder of the territory, in particular Providenciales, where services are returning to normal. The Turks and Caicos Islands were severely impacted by the passage of Hurricane Irma on Thursday 7 September 2017. Hurricane Maria has now passed TCI, with only limited further damage, largely confined to the island of Grand Turk. The hotline for British people affected or concerned about others is +44 (0)20 7008 0000.

 Dominica

23-09-2017 20:10 PM GMT

The FCO is currently advising against all but essential travel to Dominica; Hurricane Maria passed over Dominica on 19 September 2017; initial reports indicate widespread damage to buildings, infrastructure and communications; the airport is closed but commercial ferry options are available; if you’re in Dominica, you should exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.

 Mexico

23-09-2017 16:16 PM GMT

On 23 September 2017 there was an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 in Oaxaca. On 7 September 2017 there was an earthquake of magnitude 8.2 off the coast of Chiapas. There have been reports of severe damage in southern Mexico. Local services, including transport, may be affected. If you’re in the area, you should follow the advice of the local authorities.

 Dominican Republic

23-09-2017 12:12 PM GMT

Hurricane Maria passed the Dominican Republic on 21 September 2017; there were reports of local flooding and some damage in the north and east. Airports are open and there was no serious damage to tourist infrastructure; you should contact your tour operator or airline for more information.

 Anguilla

23-09-2017 11:16 AM GMT

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) no longer advise against all but essential travel to Anguilla; Hurricane Maria passed Anguilla on Wednesday 20 September 2017.

 Montserrat

23-09-2017 10:11 AM GMT

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) no longer advise against all but essential travel to Montserrat.

 Cuba

23-09-2017 08:19 AM GMT

The central northern coast of Cuba has been badly damaged following Hurricane Irma, including the Cayos region and airport, although the government is working to restore services before the main tourist season in November. Many towns in Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Villa Clara and Matanzas provinces were also severely affected. Communication is gradually being restored across provinces Havana and many other tourist areas are operating normally including main roads to provinces and most bus services and airports.

 British Virgin Islands

22-09-2017 21:12 PM GMT

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advise against all but essential travel to the British Virgin Islands; Hurricane Maria has now passed BVI, but it added to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The local authorities introduced a curfew from 6pm on Monday 18 September, which currently remains in force. You should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities.

 Indonesia

22-09-2017 15:59 PM GMT

On 22 September 2017, the National Disaster Management Authority raised the volcanic alert level for Mount Agung in north east Bali to level 4; you should follow the advice of the local authorities and stay outside the exclusion zone which extends between 9 and 12 km from the crater; in the event of an eruption and volcanic ash clouds, which could cause flight disruptions, you should confirm your travel arrangements directly with your airline or travel agent before travelling to the airport.

 Venezuela

22-09-2017 15:34 PM GMT

Safety and security section and summary – updated details on import duty if you’re bringing new personal items or merchandise into Venezuela; there have been reports of travellers being asked to pay bribes to either enter or leave the country at Maiquetia airport; there are regular reports of intermittent shortages of petrol throughout Venezuela; update on outbursts of violence in some Venezuelan cities in 2017.

 Malawi

22-09-2017 15:19 PM GMT

Safety & security section (Crime) – from 16 to 21 September 2017, the Malawi police service reported two separate attacks on visitors to the Mount Mulanje area and tensions remain high; you should exercise caution in the area, especially after dark.

 Spain

22-09-2017 14:54 PM GMT

Demonstrations have taken place in Barcelona and other areas of the Catalonia region and may continue for some days; this may cause some disruption and delays to transport services.

 Cameroon 22-09-2017 11:26 AM GMT

There is the potential for unrest in the north west and south west regions for a few weeks from 22 September 2017. There have been several recent explosions in Bamenda, one of which resulted in some injuries. There are reports of protests in these regions and movements within the north west region have been restricted by the Government between midnight on 21 September and midnight on 22 September; you should avoid large public gatherings and demonstrations given the potential for these to turn violent.

St Kitts and Nevis

21-09-2017 21:01 PM GMT

Hurricane Maria passed near St Kitts and Nevis 19-20 September. There are no reports of serious damage to hotels, but some local infrastructure (roads, houses) have been damaged. The airport is open. Visitors should follow the advice of the local authorities and their tour operators.

Antigua and Barbuda

21-09-2017 20:01 PM GMT

Hurricane Maria passed near Antigua & Barbuda on 18 September. There are no reports of damage to hotels or tourist infrastructure on Antigua. The airport is open.

The island of Barbuda remains evacuated following the impact of Hurricane Irma. Visitors should follow the advice of the local authorities and their tour operators.

Spain

21-09-2017 16:29 PM GMT

Forest fires are currently affecting a popular mountainous area in the centre of Gran Canaria causing evacuations and road closures. Areas affected include Tejeda, San Mateo, Telde, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Santa Lucia de Tirajana; you should follow the advice of the local authorities

Iraq 21-09-2017 16:06 PM GMT

Summary & Safety and security section (Kurdistan region) – the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) intends to hold a referendum on independence from Iraq on Monday 25 September 2017. This may lead to tensions in the region and in neighbouring areas, including Kirkuk Province, before and after 25 September; you should remain alert, monitor media reports and this travel advice.

Solomon Islands

21-09-2017 14:31 PM GMT

Safety and security section (Crime) – there have been reports of robberies involving violence, handbag snatching, pick-pocketing, distraction thefts and harassment, particularly around the central market and local beaches.

Bahrain

21-09-2017 13:28 PM GMT

Safety & security section (Demonstrations) – Ashura religious festival processions and events are due to take place across Bahrain from 21 to 30 September 2017; while these events are expected to be peaceful, there is a possibility they could be targeted by anti-government protestors, which could lead to clashes with the police.

USA

21-09-2017 12:36 PM GMT

Update following the passing of Hurricane Maria through Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands; if you’re in an affected area, you should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities, including any curfews or evacuation orders still in place.

St Maarten 21-09-2017 12:17 PM GMT

The island has been severely affected by Hurricane Maria, which passed on 20 September 2017; flights in and out of St Maarten are limited based on priority needs of the military and government-sponsored aid; the seaport has limited operational capacity; if you’re on the island, you should continue to follow the instructions of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

Guadeloupe 20-09-2017 20:14 PM GMT

Hurricanes Irma and Maria passed through north eastern parts of the Caribbean on 6 and 19 September respectively, causing some damage to the island. If you require assistance please call “cellule de crise” or crisis centre is +33 (0) 1 82 71 03 37. To contact the Prefecture in Guadeloupe, call +590 5 90 99 39 00.

Martinique

20-09-2017 20:06 PM GMT

Hurricanes Irma and Maria passed through north eastern parts of the Caribbean on 6 and 19 September respectively, causing some damage to the island. If you require assistance you can call “cellule de crise” or crisis centre on +33 (0) 1 82 71 03 37.

Mexico 20-09-2017 19:15 PM GMT

On Tuesday 19 September 2017 there was an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 near Puebla, Mexico – approx 140km south east of Mexico City; damage has been severe; the Mexican Government has announced three days of national mourning; Mexico City airport was closed temporarily, but has now reopened; please check with your airline in the first instance if you are due to fly to Mexico City; if you are in an area affected by the earthquake you should follow the advice of the local authorities; the British Embassy in Mexico City is closed until further notice; if you require emergency assistance, please call +44 (0)20 7008 1500; if you are in Mexico and urgently require an Emergency Travel Document, please call or email cancun.escalations@fco.gov.uk.

British Virgin Islands

19-09-2017 04:31 AM GMT

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against all travel to the British Virgin Islands; Hurricane Maria is expected to make landfall on the BVI on Tuesday 19 or Wednesday 20 September; following the extensive damage caused by hurricane Irma, there is a high risk of further severe damage; coastal flooding is also highly likely; if you are in the BVI, you should identify shelter immediately and be ready to take cover when the hurricane approaches; if you are currently outside BVI, you should not return to the territory at this time; the local authorities have introduced a curfew from 6pm on Monday 18 September until the all clear is given following Hurricane Maria; you should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities; the hotline for British people affected or concerned about others is +44(0)20 7008 0000; you should use whatever means you can to confirm to family that you are safe.

Bangladesh 18-09-2017 16:39 PM GMT

Safety & security section (Burmese border and Political violence) – as a result of ongoing violence in Burma (Mynamar) since August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have arrived in the south-east of Bangladesh, close to the border with Burma; you should exercise caution and consult with the local authorities about the latest situation before visiting the area; in addition to long-standing political tensions between the government and opposition, the current Rohingya refugee crisis may lead to protests and demonstrations in Dhaka, including in the Gulshan and Baridhara areas of the city; if you see a demonstration developing, or are in a situation in which you feel unsafe, move away to a place of safety.

     

Remember that this information is subject to change at any time, so it’s a good idea to check the FCO website and local news for your travel route and destination before you book – and before you depart. 

 

*Disinclination to travel applies if an act of terrorism takes place within a 40-mile radius of your travel route or destination, up to 6 weeks before your departure. Please read our Policy Wording for full details of cover provided by Safe Journey, as well as terms, conditions and exclusions.

**£4.96 per person applies to a single trip of up to 8 days – whether you’re travelling locally or internationally. Single trip cover is available for trips of up to 180 days continuous travel, worldwide (£58.73 pp). Annual Multi-Trip cover is also available from £14.99 per person.

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