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Specialising in safety awareness training, travel safety and security advice for a wide range of professionals and individuals prior to their travels.

The Middle East

July 14, 2024

The FCDO is currently advising against all travel to Syria, Yemen, Iran and much of isreal and also has area travel warnings for many countries in the region. Whilst many parts such as the UAE, Egypt and Jordan are generally stable and prosperous, this is not the case other areas. On 7th October 2023 Hamas launched a major ground attack against israel settlements and launched hundreds of rockets.  Whilst the Lebanon remains in a state of political paralysis and is struggling to recover from the August 2020 port explosion. In Iran the situation has settled down following the 2022 mass demonstrations but in the long term the grip of the Mullahs seems to have been weakened. President Raisi died in a helpicopter crash in May 2024, presidential elections are being held on 28 June, many anti regime activitist are uring a boycott. 

At least 34,000 people were killed in the February 2023 earthquake on the Turkish/Syrian border.

Current highlights:

  • Iran: Reformist Pezeshkin elected president
  • Gaza: IDF continiue operations in Rafar
  • Middle East: UK FCDO warns of higher terror risk
  • Red Sea: More US & UK strikes against Houthi targets
  • Lebanon: Increased tension due to Gaza/Israel conflict
  • Afghanistan: Girls banned from Universities
  • Yemen: Conflict continues
     
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South & Central America

July 14, 2024

Prior to travel to the Americas, it's vital to check the Covid entry requiements, the FCDO website is a good starting point. Most countries require proof of double vaccination and the completion of a health entry form.

The crime rates in many Latin American cities is higher than in Europe and since the covid pandemic, many countries continue to face economic unrest. Inflation is very high in Argentina and Brazil is in a state of political unrest following the November 2022 election. In early December 2022, the Peru President Castillo was impeached and outsted from office leading to widespread street protests. Ecuador remains unstable due to gang violence and political instability.

Current highlights:

  • Bolivia: Failed apparent coup attempt
  • Brazil: Fires threaten Pantanal area
  • Mexico: Claudia Sheinbaum elected president
  • South America: Surge in cases of Dengue Fever
  • Brazil: Extensive flooding in Rio Grand do Sur
  • Ecudaor: Power cuts as drought affects hydro generation
  • Argentina: Increased risk of Dengue fever
  • Paraguay: Elevated Dengue Fever risk
  • Brazil: Increase in cases of Dengue Fever.
  • Ecuador: State of emergency declared
  • El Salvador: Nayib Bukele re-elected as president
  • Argentina: MotoGP cancelled due to economic situation
  • Brazil: Significant increase in cases of Dengue Fever
  • Panama: Low water level in panama canal
  • Brazil: Amazon at low levels
  • Peru: Avain flu H5N1 killing 100 thousands of wild birds
  • Uruguay: Water shortages 
  • Colombia: Ceasefire declared with ELN
  • Belize: WHO declares free of Malaria
  • Argentina: Inflation hits 120% 
  • Peru: Increased risk Dengue Fever in lowland areas
  • Bolivia: Santa Cruz area - increased risk of dengue fever

View our April 2023 South America Briefing

 

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Indian Sub Continent

July 19, 2024

Travel to the Indian sub-continent is relatively easy provided it is well planned. There are a multitude of different entry requirements and safety and security is an issue in a number of areas such as Kashmir and the tribal areas of Pakistan. Throughout the region, the risk greatest risks are from road traffic accidents and pollution in urban areas. Myanmar (Burma) continues under military rule with sporadic protests and Sri Lanka is beginning to stabilise both politically and economically following the ousting of the Rajapaska presidency. Pakistan is politically and economically unstable and also threatened by growing violence in the NW from the TTP (Tehreek - e - Taliban Pakistan) Islamist group. This group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in Peshawar on 30 January 2023 which killed over 100 security forces officers and associates.

Current Highlights:

  • Bangladesh: Student street protests
  • India: Over 120 killed at crushed at religious festival in UP
  • India: Flooding in Assam
  • India: Heatwave with temperatures over 50c
  • Sri Lanka: Extensive flooding kills 7
  • India: Increased cases of Dengue Fever in Kamataka
  • India: Improved voting count for Congress party
  • Pakistan: Coalition Parties try to unite
  • Pakistan: Former PM Imran Khan sentence to 10 & 14 years jail
  • India: Water shortages in Banagalore
  • Pakistan: Street protests against fuel costs
  • India: Bans white rice exports
  • Sri Lanka: Increased risk of Denge Fever
  • Myanmar (Burma): FCDO advises against all but essential travel
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Travelling in Africa

July 14, 2024

Travel to Africa should be well prepared as there are huge variation in the overall safety situation. At a high level, the risk from disease, especaily malaria in West Africa and parts of Southern Africa should be researched and road traffic accidents remain a constant thrreat.

The Sahel is highly unstable, particulary Mali, Chad, Burkina Fasa, Niger, Northern Nigeria. Parts of Somalia and Ethiopia are also in a flux of conflict. In mid April 23 Sudan descended into open civil war between the government/Army and the Rapid Suppoert Forces (RSF).  A coup in early August 23 disposed the elected goverment in Niger but the region into further crisis.  The risk from terrorism is significant in Kenya, parts of Egypt (Sinai).However, many parts of West Africa and Southern Africa are stable - The key is research. Check out the FCDO and also major global risk management companies such as Sibylline, ISOS/CRG, Salamanca & Worldaware.

South Africa will continue to have extensive power cuts for months if not years to come as the energy supply sector is broken. The state of the Zimbabwean economy is desperate with inflation running at about 250%, daily power cuts and mass unemployment, An election is due and Zanu-PF will do what is necessary, including violent repression to stay in power.  The football African Cup of Nation is being held in Ivory Coast from 13 Jan to 11 Feb 24.  

Current highlights:

  • Rwanda: presindential election
  • Kenya: More anti government protests in Nairobi
  • Libya: Rival factions peace talks
  • Zimbabwe: Accute drought conditions
  • South Africa: Elections 29 May
  • Sudan: Fighting intensifies
  • Sierra Leone: Night time curfew
  • Kenya & Ethiopia: Severe flooding
  • Niger: France to pulls out troops
  • Gabon: Military Coup
  • Zimbabwe: Opposition protests likely
  • Malawi: Fuel shortages
  • Ethiopia: Increased levels of Cholera
  • Mali: UN peacekeepers ordered to leave
  • Mozambique: Elevated malaria risk
  • Ethiopia: Violence in Ahmara region
  • Zambia: Power cuts anticipated
  • Kenya: Continued risk from terrorism
  • South Africa: Power cuts continue

   

 

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South East Asia

July 14, 2024

Travel to the Chinese mainland for toursim and some busienesses opened up again on 15 March '23. The region is generally easy and safe for both the business and recreational traveller, apart from Myanmar which remains unstable following the military coup of Febrary 2021. The military have systematically crushed civil resistance and the FCDO is currently advising against all but essential to Myanmar except for Yangon. Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand remain relativley stable and present no significant issues to travellers. UK citizens can generally enter viasa free for short stays.  

Current highlights:

  • Vietnam: Increased risk of Dengue Fever in Hanoi
  • Myanmar: Army loses major town to Karen rebles
  • Taiwan: Elevated Dengue Fever threat
  • Laos & Vietnam: Dengue Fever risk
  • Thailand: Coalition formed but under the military control
  • Cambodia: Water shortage in some cities
  • Philippines: Increased terrorism threat in Mindanao Province
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Objective takes the risk out of travel

April 17, 2024

Courses are also available for Journalists, Media Professionals, NGO's, Businesses, SME's and Large Corporations, Leisure and Adventure Expeditions and also Gap Year Travellers.

Objective Travel Safety trained Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman before both the 'Long Way Round' and 'Long Way Down' motorbike expeditions.

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North America

July 18, 2024

Travellers to the USA and Canada must ensure they have the correct entry permissions/documents. For the USA, most visitors will be able to enter on an ESTA, however, those who have travelled to USA restricted countries such as Yemen, Iraq and Iran must obtain a visa.

The USA is certainly a more challenging country than Canada due to the ever-increasing political divide and the racial and religious tensions and threat of gun violence including mass shootings which can occur in schools, cinemas and shopping areas.

Current Highlights:

  • USA: Trump survives assassination attempt
  • USA: Pressure grows on Biden not to re-run
  • USA; Heat wave midewest & NE states
  • Canada: Wild fires N Alberta
  • USA: Political tensions rise ahead of 2024 Nov election
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Australasia

June 24, 2024

The region of Austalasia covers Australia, New Zealand and some of the neighbouring Pacific islands. From a security perspective, both Australia and New Zealand are generally safe in comparison to other parts of the World. Environmental dangers are a concern.

New Zealand is an active seismic area with up to twenty earthquakes a day, however, most are small and are not felt. In recent years Australia has swung from extreme drought and devasting wild fires to torrential rains in the east and west coast in 2023.

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World News

July 20, 2024

A range of risks occur for travellers, the top three are generally from crime, road traffic accidents (RTA's), disease and illness. In most of the large South American and African countries, crime will be the main risk. In South East Asia, it would be road traffic accidents and more recently, urban pollution.

The best sources of global news are the BBC, Reuters, The Economist and The Guardian.  Currently the war in Ukraine and Israel/Gaza conflict is focusing world attention. Russia is increasing its global voice with a despotic informal alliance with N Korea and Iran at a time that the USA is racked by infernal divisions and distraction of the 2024 presidential election. China continue to asert it's global presence. Across the globe there are neasrly 60 country elections planned so potentially 2024 will be a year of even greater geo political flux.

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Humanitarian Aid Trip to Ukraine

February 02, 2024

Paul Parsons and I turn off the main road and are faced with what seems to be a no entry or restricted access road sign.  Do we proceed or not? We are leading eight other vehicles and ahead is five km of snowy tracks through the snow deadened Polish forests. We are close to the Ukraine border, having passed a heavily camouflaged military field radar site.  ‘Engage four wheel drive’; the Hilux grins, this is more like it after too long on the German & Polish motorways! We gently trundle through the birch forest, ever fearful of finding a locked barrier. All is well and we emerge out of the forest and past small farms with tin roofs and fences demarking their boundaries. Thirty minutes later, we are trying to find the Hilux’s chassis number (for those interested, on back seat door frame) at the border crossing point into Ukraine without which the Poles would not allow us to cross the border.  

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Business Travel Safety – Ready to go?

February 15, 2024

It’s been a slow return and business travel is now certainly picking up.  Whilst growth of virtual communications has been terrific news for stretched travel budgets and it will help reduce global emissions, there is also a read need for physical travel too. Factories need to be visited, crops inspected, and key conferences attended.  So here are a few tips and tricks from the Objective Travel Safety team which may help anyone planning an upcoming business trip. 

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Humanitarian Aid Trip with Freezer Van to Ukraine May 2024

July 04, 2024

As Nick Milne and I approach the Budomeriz crossing point from Poland to Ukraine, luck seems to be on our side - there is only one vehicle ahead of us and very soon the traffic light goes green beckoning us to the Polish checkpoint. However, there is an air of nervousness, will we have the right paperwork for the mountain of cargo we have in our ancient Mercedes Sprinter freezer van?

It’s been over 2000km and 3 days since we left Oxfordshire, and the van is filled to the gunnels. When I say filled, I mean completely crammed with boxes of medical coveralls, mattresses, 40 sets of crutches, 10 wheelchairs, 200kg of dog and cat food, boxes of old laptops & phones and a warehouse trolley. A twenty-something Customs Officer approaches the van, and we learn quickly that her looks conceal a steely interior as she explores the inside of the van & gasps: “ah too much stuff”.  She pauses and points to boxes almost completely hidden under a mountain of crutches and barks: “boxes – open.” She then turns to Nick - “unload those” - and points to a forest of wheelchairs with three bags of Skinners’ dog food piled on top.  I make of point of blocking the road as I unload some boxes and crutches. It does the trick, as Lt ‘Poe Face’ decides she has made her point and now the Brits are just being annoying, so she orders us to pack up and move 20m forward to the Ukraine border & customs post.   

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