Mexico: Disease and civil unrest emerged as concerns in the wake of widespread flooding earlier this month that left more than 400 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless across nine of Mexico's 31 states. With drinkable water in short supply, officials warned of possible outbreaks of cholera. Hundreds in the Tabasco state capital of Villahermosa, angered by sandbagging that swamped their neighborhoods and what they called ineffective relief efforts, clashed with police, resulting in several arrests.
Honduras and Nicaragua: Flooding knocked down two bridges on the Pan American Highway, blocking overland traffic throughout Central America. Dozens were reported drowned and tens of thousands were evacuated since the rains began in September.
Indonesia: Following weeks of violence that drew the world's attention, the State Department on Oct. 4 upgraded its cautionary announcement on Indonesia to a full-blown travel warning, urging Americans to avoid the entire country and saying that those who do travel there "should exercise extreme caution." As before, the bloodied province of East Timor remains the most hazardous, and any Americans there should leave.
* Anti-government demonstrations, growing in frequency, have occurred in Jakarta, the national capital, and on all the major islands. A few have turned violent, and some demonstrators have been killed in clashes with police.
* Demonstrations on the resort island of Bali have been infrequent and have not affected tourist sites, but unrest could occur in response to events elsewhere in the country.
The United States' deportation of a suspected terrorist to Saudi Arabia two weeks ago has led to a warning to all Americans to be cautious while traveling abroad. The deportee, a Saudi dissident, is suspected of involvement in the 1996 truck-bombing of the Khobar Towers complex near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that killed 19 U.S. airmen. "The potential exists for retaliatory action against Americans worldwide," the State Department said.
Briefly . . .
Pakistan: The military threw out the nation's elected government and seized control 12 days ago. The State Department, which has been advising Americans against travel to Pakistan for the past two years, urges U.S. citizens who are now there to "maintain a high level of security awareness.". . . Bahamas: The islands are rapidly returning to normal in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, the State Department reports. Tourist areas suffered minor damage and are open. . . . Myanmar: A 28-year-old British woman was sentenced to seven years in jail last month for staging a solo pro-democracy protest in downtown Yangon. She was the second Briton jailed in the military-ruled country recently for pro-democracy activism. . . . Ecuador: Two volcanoes have been ominously active in recent weeks. One of them, Pichincha, spewed tons of ash on Quito, the capital, earlier this month. The other, Tungurahua, overlooks the popular hot-springs resort of Banos, about 75 miles south of Quito. A week ago, the Ecuadorean government ordered the town of 25,000 people evacuated because of the threat of eruption.
Hot spots: The State Department has dropped the African nation of Rwanda from its list of places considered risky for Americans. Remaining on the travel-warning list are Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo (formerly Zaire), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan and Yemen.
The U.S. State Department offers recorded travel warnings at (202) 647-5225; fax (202) 647-3000. Internet http://travel.state.gov.
Edward Wright is a former assistant foreign editor at The Times. His column appears monthly.