Sunset

 

The following information is based on LeadAbroad’s direct observation, US Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, local partners and expert consultation. Please click here for more information about LeadAbroad’s health, safety and security measures.

 

July 14, 2016

At approximately 10:10 PM (Nice time), a truck was driven into a crowd of people along the Promenade des Anglais, a busy street in Nice, France. This location was the central gathering place for spectators of the Bastille Day fireworks celebration. Initial reports state that 84 people were killed in the tragedy. The driver of the truck was also killed by police.

We have confirmed all students on our programs are accounted for and safe. The LeadAbroad family is deeply saddened by these horrific events in Nice. Though we do not have any programs based in Nice, we did have students traveling to the French Riviera for the weekend. Upon learning about the developing situation, we took immediate action. We turned our bus of students traveling to Nice around and returned them to Barcelona. One LeadAbroad student was in Nice at the time of the incident. We stayed in contact with the student and instructed her to stay in her hotel. The student flew back to our program in Barcelona on the morning of July 15th.

LeadAbroad staff greeted all returning students at our accommodation to debrief, review safety precautions and offer emotional support. We also encouraged all students to communicate with their parents. We will continue to monitor the situation and take all necessary steps to keep students safe.

 

June 4, 2016

Security Message for US citizens in South Africa from the US Consulate General:

“The U.S. Diplomatic Mission to South Africa informs U.S. citizens that the U.S. Government has received information that terrorist groups are planning to carry out near-term attacks against places where U.S. citizens congregate in South Africa, such as upscale shopping areas and malls in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the upcoming month of Ramadan.

U.S. citizens should:

  • Exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.
  • Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  • Monitor media and local event information sources and factor updated information into your travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family, have a plan if you are separated and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.

For further details regarding South Africa and travel:

The LeadAbroad team in Cape Town has addressed this message with the students via our Facebook group as soon as we received it. They will continue to discuss the heightened security level during class on Monday morning. At this time, we do not anticipate that any itinerary changes will be necessary.

 

May 31, 2016
Europe Travel Alert from the U.S. State Department

“As part of the State Department’s continuous efforts to provide Americans traveling abroad with information about relevant events, we are alerting U.S. citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation. The large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events. This Travel Alert expires August 31, 2016.

France will host the European Soccer Championship from June 10 – July 10. Euro Cup stadiums, fan zones, and unaffiliated entertainment venues broadcasting the tournaments in France and across Europe represent potential targets for terrorists, as do other large-scale sporting events and public gathering places throughout Europe. France has extended its state of emergency through July 26 to cover the period of the soccer championship, as well as the Tour de France cycling race which will be held from July 2- 24.

The Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event is expected to draw up to 2.5 million visitors to Krakow, Poland, between July 26 and July 31. U.S. citizens should be aware that local infrastructure may be strained due to the large number of visitors. Poland will impose border controls at all of its national borders from July 4 to August 2, and visitors to Poland during this period should be prepared to show their passport and undergo stricter security screening throughout Poland.

U.S. citizens should also:

  • Exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.
  • Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  • Monitor media and local event information sources and factor updated information into your travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family, have a plan if you are separated and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.

European authorities continue to take steps to assure public safety and disrupt terrorist plots. We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats.”

For more details, please visit the US State Department page.

 

It is important to understand the differences between US State Department Alerts versus Warnings:

  • Travel Alert: Alerts are milder than travel warnings and are used primarily to educate and inform the public of short-term events that the US State Department believes are important to understand when traveling to a country. According to their website, “Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. When these short-term events are over, we cancel the Travel Alert.”
  • Travel Warning: Warnings are more serious than alerts and help travelers answer the question, “Should I go to this country at all”. LeadAbroad’s general policy is to cancel our programs if a travel warning is issued. According to the US State Department website, “Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. We want you to know the risks of traveling to these places and to strongly consider not going to them at all. Travel Warnings remain in place until the situation changes; some have been in effect for years.

For more information, please visit the US State Department Website.