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September 2014 Travel Warnings

September 2014 Travel Warnings

September 2014 Travel Warnings

The September 2014 travel warnings are a listing of any warnings that have been posted by the US Department of State in the month of August, warning travelers who plan to visit those countries. Countries listed include:

Ukraine – August 29th, 2014

The Department of State warns of the risks of travel to eastern Ukraine due to ongoing violent clashes between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. In addition, Russian military forces continue to occupy the Crimean Peninsula and are present on the eastern border of Ukraine. Russia-backed separatists continue to control areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.  These groups have established illegal checkpoints and have threatened, detained, or kidnapped individuals, including U.S. citizens, for hours or days.  The Ukrainian armed forces have launched an operation to reclaim these areas.  Violent clashes between the Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces have escalated over the past month and have resulted in hundreds of injuries and deaths.

Lebanon – August 15th, 2014

The Department of State urges travelers to avoid all travel to Lebanon because of ongoing safety and security concerns. The potential for death or injury in Lebanon exists in particular because of the frequency of terrorist bombing attacks throughout the country.  Many of the attacks have targeted specific individuals or venues, but nearly all cases have resulted in death and injuries to passersby in the vicinity.  lthough there is no evidence these attacks were directed specifically at U.S. citizens at this time, there is a real possibility of “wrong place, wrong time” harm to U.S. citizens.  The most recent wave of bombings began in June 2013, with four bombings in Beirut and Tripoli that collectively left hundreds dead and wounded.  In November 2013, two suicide bombers attacked the Iranian embassy, killing 23 and injuring more than 150.

Mexico – August 15th, 2014

The U.S. Department of State warns about the risk of traveling to certain places in Mexico due to threats to safety and security posed by organized criminal groups in the country. U.S. citizens have been the target of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery by organized criminal groups in various Mexican states.

Sierra Leone – August 14th, 2014

The U.S. Department of State warns against non-essential travel to Sierra Leone. As of August 11, there have been 759 confirmed cases and 293 confirmed deaths due to an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Sierra Leone. The outbreak of EVD has overwhelmed Sierra Leone’s health system due to the lack of sufficient staff and/or resources to address the continuing transmission of EVD.  Options for obtaining routine medical care are severely limited. In addition, most medical evacuation companies have suspended service to Ebola-affected countries and several airlines have suspended service to Freetown. This severely limits options for medical evacuation in the case of EVD and non-EVD medical cases.

Algeria – August 13th, 2014

The Department of State continues to warn of the risks of travel to Algeria. There is a high threat of terrorism and kidnappings in Algeria. This kidnapping threat was noted in the Department of State’s latest Worldwide Caution. Although the major cities are heavily policed, attacks could still potentially take place. The majority of terrorist attacks, including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, and ambushes occur in areas of the country east and south of Algiers.

Iraq – August 10th, 2014

The Department of State warns against all but essential travel to Iraq. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous given the security situation. U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs; mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets; and shootings using various direct fire weapons. These and other attacks frequently occur in public gathering places, such as cafes, markets and other public venues. Numerous insurgent groups, including ISIL, previously known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq, remain active and terrorist activity and violence persist in many areas of the country. ISIL and its allies control Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and have captured significant territory across central Iraq and continue to engage with Iraqi security forces in that region. In early August, the threat to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) increased considerably with the advance of ISIL towards Kurdish areas.

Saudi Arabia – August 8th, 2014

The Department of State urges travelers to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia.  Recent developments include an attack by members of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on a border checkpoint along the Saudi-Yemeni border on July 4, 2014, and increased media reports of threats to Saudi infrastructure and U.S. installations in the Kingdom. The last major terrorist attack against foreign nationals occurred in 2007, but security threats are ongoing and terrorist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaida, may target both Saudi and Western interests. Possible targets include housing compounds, hotels, shopping areas and other facilities where Westerners congregate, as well as Saudi government facilities and economic/commercial targets within the Kingdom.

Pakistan – August 8th, 2014

The Department of State warns travelers to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan. The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations and airports. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.

Nigeria – August 8th, 2014

The Department of State warns of the risks of travel to Nigeria and recommends that travelers avoid all travel to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states because of the May 14, 2013 state of emergency proclamation for those three states by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The security situation in the country remains fluid and unpredictable. The Department continues to recommend against all but essential travel to the following states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, and Yobe States.  The Department also advises travelers to exercise additional caution while traveling in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara States.

Liberia – August 7th, 2014

The U.S. Department of State warns against non-essential travel to Liberia. In May 2014, a case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) was confirmed in Liberia, marking the first case in a second wave of the EVD outbreak. Since then, EVD has continued to spread and intensify. The latest wave of the outbreak has overwhelmed Liberia’s health system and most health facilities lack sufficient staff or resources to address the continuing transmission of EVD.  Options for obtaining routine medical care are severely limited.

Cameroon – August 6th, 2014

The Department of State warns of the high risk of travel to Cameroon and cautions travelers to avoid all travel to the Far North region of the country. The terrorist group Boko Haram is active in the Far North, and has actively targeted foreign expatriates resident in Cameroon, tourists, and government leaders.  On July 25, 2014, more than 200 suspected Boko Haram operatives conducted a coordinated attack on two compounds in Kolofata.

While traveling, please keep these travel warnings in mind and 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. 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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