World Travel Watch is a monthly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. In the United States, contact your Passport Agency office; abroad, check in with the nearest American embassy. Global Security Update
The U.S. Department of State has canceled or revised many of its advisories issued during the war with Iraq. Nonessential personnel--i.e., those other than the officials needed to keep the U.S. embassy operating in a particular country--have been permitted to return to Saudi Arabia (Jidda and Riyadh only), Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Mauritania, Djibouti, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan (except Peshawar) and Israel.
The State Department reports that the situation has not completely returned to normal in Algeria, thus nonessential travel there should be avoided.
Travelers are still advised to defer nonessential travel to southeastern Turkey due to sporadic attacks on Turkish police and civilians by separatists, and are advised to exercise caution throughout the country due to attacks targeting organizations with official or commercial ties to the United States.
India: After the recent collapse of the government, a general election is planned for late May, and could be accompanied by agitation and unrest. Exercise caution.
Travel to the northern states of Jammu, Kashmir and Assam should be avoided due to ongoing political unrest. Travelers planning trips to the Himalayan region of Ladakh should consult the American embassy in New Delhi about current conditions affecting travel there. During the monsoon season (usually July and August), vaccination for Japanese encephalitis is recommended, and travelers should be aware of the possibility of cholera and gastroenteritis in India's poor areas at that time of year.
Ethiopia: Due to the ongoing and intensified civil war, avoid travel here at this time.
Kenya: Meningococcal meningitis has been reported in Nairobi, and while no cases have been found among foreign travelers, immunization is recommended.
Mali: President Moussa Traore, who took power in a military coup in 1968, was overthrown after cracking down on pro-democracy demonstrators in the capital city of Bamako. The new military rulers have agreed to share power with civilians until order is restored and to transfer power to them before the end of the year. Avoid travel here until the situation stabilizes.
Tanzania: Crime, particularly street robberies, continues to be a major problem in urban and rural areas. Travelers should be especially careful on the beaches and avoid isolated areas. Visitors to game parks should be accompanied by an experienced guide or driver, or travel with an established tour company. Meningitis has been reported in the Arusha area in the north; immunization is recommended.
Zambia: Travel in rural Zambia should be undertaken with caution. Police roadblocks, which often include searches of vehicles and passengers, are common. Great care should be taken when traveling off major roads because restricted zones are often unmarked and venturing into them can result in arrest or detention. Travel near the borders with Angola and Mozambique should be avoided due to rebel incursions. Crime is high throughout the country, and travel on public land transport is unreliable and often unsafe.
Albania: The aftermath of last Sunday's election has brought unrest throughout the country between pro-democracy forces and the ruling Communist regime, including an outbreak of violence in the northern city of Shkoder. There is as yet no U.S. diplomatic presence here, thus consular assistance is not available for Americans. Avoid nonessential travel at this time.
Yugoslavia: The political crisis that threatens the dissolution of the country continues, but a recent agreement between the presidents of the republics of Serbia and Croatia to protect the rights of ethnic minorities may have brought the country back from the brink of civil war. However, the situation remains volatile, and nonessential travel should be deferred.
Chile: The release of a report detailing human rights abuses under the former military dictatorship has sparked violence, with bombings of police stations and bank robberies in Santiago, and the killing of the city of Concepcion's chief investigator. The possibility of more incidents of this nature exists. Exercise caution.
Cholera Epidemic: The cholera epidemic that has affected 97,000 Peruvians since January has spread to Ecuador and Colombia. Only a few cases have been reported in Colombia, but in the southwestern region of Ecuador, at least 230 people have contracted the disease and one has died. Be sure that all food, especially shellfish and vegetables, is thoroughly cooked, and substitute bottled beverages for potentially contaminated water.