November 2013 Travel Warnings

travel-warningThe November 2013 travel warnings are a listing of any warnings that have been posted by the US Department of State in the month of October, warning travelers who plan to visit those countries. Remember to exercise extra care if you are visiting these countries, and check with your travel insurance provider to make sure you still have coverage in place – sometimes some benefits can be excluded for countries under a travel warning.

Countries listed through the month of October 2013 include:

Democratic Republic of Congo – October 24th, 2013

The Department recommends you avoid all travel to the city of Goma and the province of North Kivu, and all but essential travel to the province of South Kivu and the Ituri region in the province of Orientale. With ongoing instability and violence in North and South Kivu, northeastern Orientale, and northern and central Katanga province, the Department’s ability to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in these regions of the DRC is extremely limited.

Republic of South Sudan – October 22nd, 2013

The Department of State strongly recommends that you avoid all travel to the states in the border region between Sudan and South Sudan (Upper Nile, Unity, and Western Bahr el Ghazal states in South Sudan; Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan; and the Abyei Special Administrative District). Although fighting between Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has declined since spring 2012, the potential for troop build-ups along the border and renewed fighting remains.

Sudan – October 11th, 2013

The Department of State urges travelers to avoid all travel to the Darfur region of Sudan, the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, and advises you to consider carefully the risks of travel in other areas of Sudan. On September 14, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum was attacked during a protest demonstration, resulting in a six-month ordered departure of all non-essential staff and accompanying family members.

Burundi – October 11th, 2013

The Department of State warns of the risks of traveling to Burundi, reiterating existing security concerns and notes the security restrictions on travel for Embassy personnel remain in place. Because Burundi participates in peacekeeping operations in Somalia, the terrorist organization al-Shabaab, based in Somalia, has threatened to conduct terror attacks in Burundi. It may also target U.S. interests in Burundi.

Colombia – October 11th, 2013

The Department of State has issued a Travel Warning for Colombia to inform travelers about the security situation in Colombia. Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, including in tourist and business travel destinations such as Bogota and Cartagena, but violence linked to narco-trafficking continues to affect some rural areas and parts of large cities.

Chad – October 10th, 2013

The Department of State warns of the risks of travel to Chad and recommends avoiding travel to eastern Chad and border regions. Travelers should be particularly vigilant when visiting hotels, restaurants, markets, and easily accessible public areas that expatriates and foreign travelers frequent.

Lebanon – October 9th, 2013

The Department of State urges travelers to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of current safety and security concerns. The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains. Lebanese government authorities are not able to guarantee protection for citizens or visitors to the country should violence erupt suddenly.

Syria – October 7th, 2013

The Department of State continues to warn against travel to Syria and strongly recommends that those remaining in Syria depart immediately. The security situation remains volatile and unpredictable as an armed conflict between government and anti-government armed groups continues throughout the country, along with an increased risk of kidnappings, bombings, murder, and terrorism.

Tunisia – October 4th, 2013

The Department of State warns of travel to Tunisia as a “state of emergency” declared by the government of Tunisia remains in effect, and the U.S. Embassy continues to operate with limited staffing due to security concerns.  On September 14, 2012, violent mobs caused extensive property damage during an attack on the U.S. Embassy and the American Cooperative School of Tunis.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) – October 1st, 2013

The Department of State continues to warn travelers about visiting North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK). Those crossing into North Korea, even accidentally, have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention. Since January 2009, four U.S. citizens have been arrested for entering North Korea illegally, and two U.S. citizens who entered on valid DPRK visas were arrested inside North Korea on other charges.

While traveling, please keep these travel warnings in mind. Travelers are also advised to enroll through the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to stay up to date on travel security information.

Posted by Ross Mason

Ross is the Vice President of International Student Insurance, with over 15 years experience in the international education arena. A graduate from the Nottingham Trent University in the UK with a First in BSc (Hons) Business and Technology, Ross has lived all around the world including LA, New York, Boston, London, Hong Kong, Florida and Germany.

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