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Archived Health and Safety Announcements

These announcements about health and safety may no longer be relevant due to improved situation, or because they are outdated; but have been placed in our archived files for reference. Please continue to use the Health and Safety Announcements page for the most up-to-date information.

Fiji Cyclone

Friday, 21 December, 2012

a cyclone is currently expected to hit Fiji on Sunday, December 16th. This means that winds with speeds of up to 180 kilometers per hour and heavy rains are expected in the area. You can view more details on this story at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-14/an-cyclone-evan-rises-to-category-4/4427844
 
To monitor the current weather conditions, please visit the Fiji Meteorological Service website: http://www.met.gov.fj/current_warnings.php
 

Earthquake near Rotorua, New Zealand

Friday, 7 December, 2012

 
A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has been reported near Rotorua, New Zealand, approximately 200 miles north of Wellington. The earthquake hit at approximately 1:00 p.m. eastern time today and there have not been any reports at this time of damage or injuries sustained in the area.
 
Additional articles and information can be located at:
 
 

Earthquake in Japan

Friday, 7 December, 2012

 
a magnitude 7.3 earthquake was reported earlier today off the northeast coast of Japan (northeast of Tokyo). A tsunami warning was issued for Japan, but it was cancelled two hours after it was issued. A few injuries were reported, but there have not been any reports at this time of heavy damage. The earthquake was not in the vicinity of our program at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Beppu, Japan and we are currently reaching out to our students, resident staff, and partners in Tokyo at Musashi University.
 
Additional articles and information can be located at:
 
 

Planned Demonstrations in Japan, Spain, Ireland & Australia

Thursday, 20 September, 2012

The following messages were released by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security regarding possible demonstrations in Japan on Friday, September 21 and in Australia on Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23. Students are advised to avoid these locations, to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of their surroundings, and to continue to monitor the news to obtain the latest information.

JAPAN

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Tokyo (Japan), Demonstrations
Riots/Civil Unrest
East Asia & Pacific > Japan > Tokyo
9/19/2012
 
The Embassy has been advised that there will be a demonstration starting in the Shibuya area and arriving at the U.S. Embassy at approximately 4:00PM on Friday, September 21. The Government of Japan has designated the Japan Tobacco (JT) building as the designated location near the U.S. Embassy for these demonstrations to gather legally and peacefully. U.S. citizens in Japan should be aware that demonstrations can occur without notice or early warning from the police or Government of Japan officials. We advise, as always, that people should avoid large crowds and other gatherings that have the potential to become unsafe. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates if needed. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
 
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov, and should review the Worldwide Caution and Consular Information Sheet for Japan, which may be viewed at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1148.html. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
 
For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of either the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or one of the U.S. Consulates in Japan listed below:
 
U.S. Embassy Tokyo
American Citizen Services
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
Tel: 03-3224-5174
After Hours: 03-3224-5000
Fax: 03-3224-5856
 
The U.S. Embassy serves Americans in Tokyo, Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Yamagata and Yamanashi.
Consulates:
Osaka-Kobe:
11-5, Nishitenma 2-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543; Tel: 06-6315-5912, Fax: 06-6315-5914; serving Americans in Osaka, Aichi, Ehime, Fukui, Gifu, Hiroshima, Hyogo, Ishikawa, Kagawa, Kochi, Kyoto, Mie, Nara, Okayama, Shimane, Shiga, Tokushima, Tottori, Toyama, and Wakayama prefectures.
 
Nagoya:
Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6th floor, 1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya 450-0001; Tel (052) 581-4501, Fax: (052) 581-3190; providing emergency consular services only (including death and arrest cases) for Americans living in Aichi, Gifu, and Mie prefectures.
 
Fukuoka:
5-26, Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052; Tel: 092-751-9331, Fax: 092-713-9222; serving Americans in Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Oita, Saga and Yamaguchi prefectures.
 
Sapporo:
Kita 1-jo, Nishi 28-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 064-0821; Tel: 011-641-1115, Fax: 011-643-1283; serving Americans in Akita, Aomori, Hokkaido, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.
 
Naha:
2-1-1 Toyama, Urasoe City, Okinawa 901-2104; Phone: 098.876.4211, Fax: 098.876.4243; serving Americans in Okinawa and the Amami Oshima Island group http://naha.usconsulate.gov/
 

SPAIN

Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens: Madrid and Barcelona (Spain), Possible Demonstration (September 21)

Planned and spontaneous demonstrations may take place in Spain, especially in Madrid and Barcelona, in response to economic or other events. If you encounter a large public gathering or demonstration, the U.S. Embassy suggests that you avoid the area. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. U.S. citizens are therefore urged to avoid demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution in the vicinity of any demonstrations.

The organization La Fede Pak Catalan has called for a prayer meeting on Friday, September 21, beginning at 12:00. The event is planned to take place along Passeig Lluis Companys De Barcelona, around the Arc de Triomf. The Government of Catalunia has not authorized a demonstration by the group. La Fede Pak Catalan leadership has expressed its commitment to a non-violent prayer.

The U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to review "A Safe Trip Abroad," which includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad. All U.S. citizens in Spain are urged to enroll online at the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Enrolling gives U.S. Citizens access to updated information on travel and security within Spain and makes it easier for the Embassy to contact citizens in case of emergency. You can also download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 tollfree in the United States or a regular toll line at-1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution as well as Country Specific Information for Spain. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

Following are the contact numbers of our Embassy in Madrid, as well as the Consulate General in Barcelona. All contact numbers and addresses are also available on our website.

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano 75
28006 Madrid
Telephone: (34) 91 587 2240
After-hours emergencies: (34) 91 587 2200
E-mail: askacs@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
08034 Barcelona
Telephone: (34) 93 280 22 27
After-hours emergencies: (34) 91 587 2200
E-mail: Consularbarcel@state.gov.
 

IRELAND

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Dublin (Ireland), Demonstration (September 21)
Riots/Civil Unrest
Europe > Ireland > Dublin
9/21/2012


In response to the recent events at our U.S. mission in Libya and related protests worldwide, Ireland’s National Police Service, An Garda Síochána, informed Embassy Dublin of a planned protest on Friday afternoon, September 21 in the vicinity of the Embassy. The Embassy’s Consular section, including the American Citizens Services Unit, will close at 1:00 pm on that day. U.S. Citizens requiring emergency services can contact the American Citizen Services Unit at +353 1 630 6200.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Ireland enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Ireland. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy is located at 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland. Our telephone number is +353 1 630 6200. In an emergency, the Embassy may be contacted at +353 1 630 6200 after hours and on weekends – please follow the prompts to reach an operator. The fax number for the American Citizen Services Unit is +353 1 668 8056. E-mail queries may be sent to the American Citizen Services Unit at ACSDublin@state.gov.
 

AUSTRALIA

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Sydney (Australia), Possible Protests
Riots/Civil Unrest
East Asia & Pacific > Australia > Sydney
9/20/2012
 
Sydney law enforcement authorities have advised of possible anti-American demonstrations in Sydney for Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23. U.S. citizens should avoid Sydney’s Hyde Park and its perimeter area and Martin Place on both Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23. Previous demonstrations in Sydney on September 15, 2012 occurred in Martin Place and Hyde Park and turned violent.
 
Melbourne law enforcement authorities have also advised of possible anti-American protests in downtown Melbourne on Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23. Should they occur, U.S. citizens should avoid the immediate demonstration areas.
 
Fast-forming anti-American protests in Australia remain possible. U.S. citizens should in all cases avoid any political demonstrations that may develop and continue to monitor the Australian media and Consulate messages to obtain the latest information. In the event an anti-American demonstration develops, U.S. citizens should leave the area promptly.
 
The Department of State remains concerned about the threat of violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance, to be aware of their surroundings and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. The U.S. Consulate General has advised its staff members to avoid attracting attention to themselves as U.S. citizens. For additional information on maintaining a discreet profile, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad".
 
U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
 
 
Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line at +1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution, by “following” the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and “liking” the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook.
 
The Consulate General will continue to monitor the information it receives and will provide updates as needed.
To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list send e-mail to SydneyACS@state.gov.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation the health, safety, and well-being of our students is extremely important and we will provide updates as they become available.

Peaceful Demonstrations Planned in Hong Kong

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 
The following security message advised by the U.S. Department of State about peaceful demonstrations planned for the early afternoon on Sunday, September 23 in Hong Kong.
 
Security Message for U.S. Citizens
U. S. Consulate General Hong Kong
September 19, 2012
 
The U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong informs U.S. citizens that local Muslim leaders have announced plans for peaceful demonstrations to take place in Chater Garden in Central in the early afternoon of Sunday, September 23. Consulate General personnel have been instructed to avoid the immediate area around Chater Garden on Sunday, September 23, and we advise you to avoid the area also.
 
The U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong remains concerned about the threat of violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. As a general precaution, the Consulate General advises you to exercise caution and to be aware of your surroundings, particularly around large crowds or gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence with little or no warning. You should monitor the Hong Kong media and Consulate General messages to keep updated with the latest information.
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Consulate General at (852) 2523-9011 or visit the U.S. Citizens Service website at http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov. We will post the most updated information on the website. The Consulate General is located at 26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong.
 
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens living or traveling in Hong Kong or Macau enroll in the Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at http://travel.state.gov/. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have Internet access, enroll directly at the Consulate General.
 
Regularly monitor the Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Hong Kong. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad.”
 
You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States or Canada, or, 1-317-472-2328 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.
 
Please maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid political demonstrations and civil disturbances, and continue to monitor the news to obtain the latest information.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation providing updates as necessary.
 

Meningitis Awareness

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Zealand university campuses are heightening awareness surrounding the Meningitis C infection. This is still a relatively rare infection and there have been no known reports of an infection on any New Zealand campus this year, but it does affect young people, especially those living in communal environments such as university halls of residence. The infection can be fatal so it is very serious for anyone who catches it. We have heard from our university partners and it is recommended that you take precautions against the infection, in particular, not sharing drink containers to minimize risk.

Review your personal vaccination history to determine if you are currently protected against the Meningitis C infection and thus if the vaccination is necessary for you. A vaccination is available for Meningitis C at your University Student Health Centre. This vaccine is unfortunately not funded by your Student Safe Health Insurance and the cost of the vaccination may range from $50-$100 on your university campus.

Government health resources that may be helpful to you can be found below:

http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/meningococcal
http://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/index.html

Your health and safety is of the utmost importance to us. Please take the necessary precautions to assure you are protected against the infection.

We will continue to monitor the situation providing updates if need be.

Possible Protests in Thailand

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The following warning information about protests in Thailand was released by the U.S. Department of State.

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Chiang Mai (China), Possible Demonstrations

https://www.osac.gov/Pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=12974


East Asia & Pacific > Thailand > Chiang Mai

The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai, Thailand, has been informed by local authorities of a possible gathering of persons outside the Consulate General during the morning of Wednesday, September 19, which may disrupt traffic in the area. Consequently, the Consular Section of the Consulate General will be closed to the public on September 19. Routine American Citizen Services will not be available. Visa appointments are being rescheduled for a later date.
 
The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is not aware at this time of any specific threat to U.S. citizens in the consular district. As a general precaution, the U.S. Consulate General advises you to exercise caution and to be aware of your surroundings, particularly around large crowds or gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence with little or no warning. You should avoid areas that may be targeted for demonstrations and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations or large gatherings. You should monitor local media to keep updated with the latest information about demonstrations and areas to avoid.
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the U.S. Consulate General at (66) 053-107700 or visit the U.S. Citizens Service website at http://chiangmai.usconsulate.gov/. We will post the most updated information on the website.
 
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Thailand enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at http://www.travel.state.gov/. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the embassy or nearest consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
 
Regularly monitor the Department of State's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Thailand. For additional information, refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad."
 
Contact the US Embassy in Bangkok or Consulate General Chiang Mai for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

Please maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid political demonstrations and civil disturbances, and continue to monitor the news to obtain the latest information.

We will continue to monitor the situation providing updates if need be.

Territorial Dispute between China & Japan

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security released the following statement regarding the dispute between China and Japan, as protests are expected to continue.
 
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Guangzhou (China), Ongoing Protests

Riots/Civil Unrest
East Asia & Pacific > China > Guangzhou
9/18/2012
 
In light of ongoing and likely further protests in Guangzhou and throughout China related to a territorial dispute in the East China Sea between China and Japan, the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou reminds Americans in southern China that even gatherings intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. In Guangzhou, large demonstrations have been occurring near the Garden Hotel, site of the Japanese Consulate. This has resulted in an extremely large police and security presence and the closure of streets in the surrounding areas.
 
More protests are scheduled for today Tuesday, September 18. So far, a heavy police presence has been reported in many parts of town but it is anticipated that the protests will again be centered near the Garden Hotel. The Guangdong Foreign Affairs Office has advised against “driving Japanese make/model vehicles near crowds and demonstration sites in the near term.” U.S. citizens should stay abreast of media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
 
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution and Consular Information Sheet for China can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
 
U.S. citizens residing or traveling in China are reminded to register with the U.S. Embassy or closest U.S. Consulate by entering your travel itinerary and contact information at https://step.state.gov/step/. In case of difficulties registering online, please contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
 
Number 1 South Shamian Street, Shamian Island
Guangzhou 510133.
Telephone: (86)(20) 8518-7605
Emergency after-hours telephone: (86) (10) 8531-4000
This consular district includes the provinces/autonomous region of Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, and Fujian.

Please maintain a high level of vigilance, avoid political demonstrations and civil disturbances, and continue to monitor the news to obtain the latest information.

We will continue to monitor the situation providing updates if need be.

Anti-American Protests

Monday, 17 September, 2012

In light of recent attention on the anti-Muslim video produced within the U.S., anti-American protests and demonstrations continue throughout the world. Over the weekend there was a protest in Sydney, Australia at the U.S. Consulate General that resulted in several arrests and injuries. The following message was released by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security. It is extremely important to make note of and adhere to the security advice to maintain a high level of vigilance, to avoid political demonstrations and civil disturbances, and continue to monitor the news to obtain the latest information.
 
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Sydney (Australia) Possible Protests
Political Violence
East Asia & Pacific > Australia > Sydney
9/16/2012

Violent demonstrations targeting the U.S. Consulate General in Sydney occurred on Saturday, September 15, 2012. The Australian authorities have prepared for possible additional protests on Sunday, September 16, 2012. U.S. citizens should avoid the Central Business District (CBD) of Sydney for the remainder of Sunday, September 16.
 
The Department of State remains concerned about the threat of violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. U.S. citizens should avoid political demonstrations and continue to monitor the Australian media and Consulate messages to obtain the latest information. In the event an anti-American demonstration develops, U.S. citizens should leave the area promptly.
 
The Consulate General will continue to monitor the information it receives and will provide updates as needed.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Public Announcements and Travel Warnings can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-800-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line on 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8.00am to 8.00pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except U.S. federal holidays.
 
To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list send e-mail to sydneyacs@state.gov.
 
 
Student safety is of utmost importance to us and we will continue to monitor the situation providing updates if need be.

Typhoon Sanba - Japan & South Korea

Friday, 14 September, 2012

This message is to acknowledge and advise that typhoon Sanba is currently passing over the southern-most areas of Japan and is moving northwestward toward South Korea. Sanba is expected to reach South Korea on Sunday night or Monday local time, if it continues its projected course. The strength of the storm is expected to weaken by this time, but heavy rains, possible flooding, and strong winds of up to 170 MPH are still expected.
 
 
To monitor the current weather conditions, please visit the Korea Meteorological Administration website. As the storm nears, updated information will be posted on this site. Due to possible TV and cell phone outages, this will be your best source for updates on the weather: http://web.kma.go.kr/eng/index.jsp
 
Students should review the safety recommendations and please stay indoors during the storm and take these precautions until the storm has subsided:
 
1. Complete all precautions in your home. Lock all windows and doors, fit bars into position and insert reinforced shutters and gates if they are available. Adhesive tape fixed to large window-panes in exposed positions will reduce damage by broken glass. Storm water drains should be cleared of leaves and rubbish.
 
2. Flights may be affected by the weather. Please contact your airline for the latest flight information before departing for the airport.
 
3. Do not stand near windows on the exposed side of your home. Move all furniture and valuables away from these areas. Make sure you have a safe place to shelter, should windows be broken.
 
4. Since seas are very rough, you are advised to stay away from the shoreline and not to engage in water sports.
 
We will stay in contact with our overseas office and update you if there is any further information. We, along with our resident directors, will continue to monitor the situation providing updates if need be.
 

Earthquake in China

Friday, 7 September, 2012

An earthquake has been reported in China, along the borders of the Yunnan and Guizhou provinces. Students closest to the earthquake are those in Chengdu which is approximately 300 miles from the location of the quake. The earthquake occurred at 11:19 Beijing time or 03:19 GMT and registered 5.6 on the Richter scale according to the US Geological Survey. The following article provides some additional details:
 
 
We will continue to monitor the situation providing updates if need be.

Typhoon Bolaven near Seoul, South Korea

Tuesday, 28 August, 2012

Typhoon Bolaven is currently in the area of Seoul, South Korea. This means that winds with speeds of up to 170 kilometres per hour and heavy rains are expected in the area. The good news is that the storm's path appears to have spared Seoul the severest effects, according to CNN International meteorologists. You can view more details on this story at: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/28/world/asia/typhoon-bolaven/index.html?hpt=wo_c2.

To monitor the current weather conditions, please visit the Korea Meteorological Administration website. Due to TV and cell phone outages, this will be your best source for updates on the weather: http://web.kma.go.kr/eng/index.jsp
 
Please continue to stay indoors during the storm and take these precautions until the storm has subsided:
1. Complete all precautions in your home. Lock all windows and doors, fit bars into position and insert reinforced shutters and gates if they are available. Adhesive tape fixed to large window-panes in exposed positions will reduce damage by broken glass. Storm water drains should be cleared of leaves and rubbish.
2. Flights may be affected by the weather. Please contact your airline for the latest flight information before departing for the airport.
3. Do not stand near windows on the exposed side of your home. Move all furniture and valuables away from these areas. Make sure you have a safe place to shelter, should windows be broken.
4. Since seas are very rough, you are advised to stay away from the shoreline and not to engage in water sports.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation providing updates and advice if need be.

Mt. Tongariro Eruption in New Zealand

Tuesday, 7 August, 2012

We received an update from our on-site resident staff that that things are calming down at Mt. Tongariro. New Zealand’s Civil Defense has announced that the Mt. Tongariro volcano is no longer producing ash and maintains minor eruptive activity. The volcanic threat advisory has now been cancelled. Aviation codes have been reduced and flights are resuming as normal. More information on the current status of the volcano can be read here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10825269&ref=rss.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation providing updates and advice if need be. Remember, within New Zealand, if you should need assistance in an emergency please reach out to our team on the ground by using our toll-free number 0-800-215-503. While in the U.S., the after-hours emergency phone number is 1-303-594-0314.

Monday, 6 August, 2012

One of New Zealand’s several active volcanoes, Mt. Tongariro, erupted last night (link to map). The eruption was reported to police just before midnight (New Zealand time). Some flight disruptions to and from destinations east of Tongariro are occurring and some roads were closed briefly due to ash fall. The ash cloud is currently heading east towards Napier.
 
There have been no reports of injury or damage, however the Ministry of Civil Defense & Emergency Management have advised people in the affected areas to stay indoors. We have checked in with our university partners closest to the region in Hamilton and Palmerston North and by all accounts we have received reports of blue skies and things are continuing on as normal. There is no concern for the safety of our students at this time. We, along with our Resident Directors and our university partners, will continue to monitor the situation providing updates and advice if need be.
 
The following article provides some additional details:
 
Remember, within New Zealand, if you should need assistance in an emergency please reach out to our team on the ground by using our toll-free number 0-800-215-503. Within the U.S., the after-hours emergency phone number is 1-303-594-0314.

Typhoon Vincente off the coast of Hong Kong

Monday, 23 July, 2012

 
There is a level 9 typhoon Vincente nearing Hong Kong. Wind speeds of 75 kilometres per hour or more are expected from the northeast quarter. At midnight, Typhoon Vicente was centred about 110 kilometres south-southwest of Hong Kong (near 21.4 degrees north 113.7 degrees east) and is forecast to move northwest at about 20 kilometres per hour in the general direction of the region to the west of the Pearl River Estuary.
 
We have been in touch with our students, staff and partners overseas adn will continue to monitor the situation providing updates directly to students and through this website.
 
To monitor the current weather conditions, follow the latest updates on the Hong Kong Observatory website at http://www.hko.gov.hk/contente.htm/.
 
The following information is safety and precautionary advice from the Hong Kong Observatory:
 
1. Do not go outside. If you are reasonably protected, stay where you are and keep well away from all windows. Close all interior doors and make sure children are confined to the least exposed part of your home. On no account should you touch electric cables that have been blown loose.
 
2. Stay away from exposed windows and doors because glass, already under strain from wind pressure, will shatter if a flying object should hit it. Make sure you have a safe place to shelter, should windows be broken. You should only fix broken windows and doors when there is no danger in doing so.
 
3. Since seas are very high to phenomenal and the current is strong with changing direction, you are advised to stay away from the shoreline and not to engage in water sports.
 
4. Flights at Hong Kong International Airport may be affected by the weather. Please contact your airline for the latest flight information before departing for the airport.
 

Earthquake off the coast of Wellington, New Zealand

Tuesday, 3 July, 2012

This message is to acknowledge and advise that there was an earthquake off the coast of Wellington, New Zealand on Tuesday night at 10:36 p.m. (New Zealand time). Reports indicate that a 7.0 magnitude quake struck approximately 60km south of the Taranaki town of Opunake (see link to map). There was no major damage or injuries reported. The following articles provide some additional details:

Articles:
 
By all accounts, there is no concern for the safety of our students at this time. We are checking in with our university partners in Wellington and should there be any advice to share, we will certainly do so. We, along with our resident directors, will continue to monitor the situation providing updates if need be.

Earthquake in Melbourne, Australia

Tuesday, 19 June, 2012

There was a rare earthquake in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday night just before 9:00 p.m. (Australia time). Reports indicate that a 5.2 (some reports state 5.3) magnitude quake struck approximately 74 miles southeast of the capital city of Melbourne. Many residents within Melbourne and nearby suburbs felt the quake. However, there was minimal to no damage and there have not been any injuries reported. For more information, please read the following articles:

 
By all accounts, things are calm and continuing on as normal in Melbourne and there is no concern for the safety of our students at this time. We are checking in with our university partners in Melbourne and should there be any advice to share, we will certainly do so. Our resident directors and coordinators will check in with the students in Melbourne and continue to monitor the situation providing updates if need be.

Earthquake in Northern Italy

Tuesday, 29 May, 2012

There was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in northern Italy about 25 miles north of Bologna and 38 miles east of Parma at 9:00am local time on May 29th, 2012. This earthquake is the second to strike northern Italy in 10 days and sadly, there have been 15 reported deaths and many residents are now homeless. Though some shaking could be felt in Milan, no damage has been suffered there. The semester abroad program at the Universita Catolica de Sacro Cuore ended on May 11, 2012. Our Resident Staff have confirmed that all students are safe and well. Our Resident Staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly however there is no concern for our students’ safety at this time.
For more information on the quake, please read the following article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18247659

Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand

Friday, 25 May, 2012

 
There was a 5.2 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand overnight. Thankfully there are no reported injuries and damage was minimal. Our Resident Staff have been in touch with our students and all have confirmed that they are safe and well. The earthquake was reported to have struck at 2:44 P.M. at a depth of 11 kilometers and was centered 10 kilometers east of Christchurch. Following the 5.2 magnitude aftershock the universities reported that they remain open. The universities are undertaking checks of key indicator buildings but no damage has been identified at this time.
 
Our Resident Director, Gavin Murdoch, will continue to monitor the situation and stay in touch with students, however at this point there is no concern for the safety our students in Christchurch.
 
For more information on the earthquake, feel free to view the following article:
 

Boston University Student Tragedy

Saturday, 12 May, 2012

 
Three Boston University students attending AUT University and the University of Auckland passed away this weekend in a car accident in New Zealand and several students were injured. None of the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad students were involved in this tragedy. We have been in touch with our students at AUT University and the University of Auckland offering our support and prayers. The international students have been contacted by the universities as well and counseling services are in place. We have encouraged our students to utilize the support services should they need them.
 
We are deeply saddened by this tragic news and know the feelings of loss and heartbreak felt by the families, friends, fellow students, and our colleagues both in New Zealand and in Boston. Our hearts and our prayers go out to everyone during this difficult time.
 
For more information, go to:

Thailand - Tsunami Watch

Wednesday, 11 April, 2012

In the early hours of April 11th, there was an 8.6 magnitude earthquake just off the western coast of Indonesia. The U.S. Geological Survey said the first 8.6-magnitude quake was centered 20 miles (33 kilometers) beneath the ocean floor around 269 miles (434 kilometers) from Aceh province. That prompted the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii to issue a tsunami watch for Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Maldives and other Indian Ocean islands, Malaysia, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Iran, Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore.
 
A wave measuring less than 30 inches (80 centimeters) high, rolled to Indonesia's coast. There were no other signs of serious damage. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centers watch remained in effect in until yesterday afternoon.
 
A tsunami watch means there is the potential for a tsunami, not that one is imminent. The initial quake was a strike-slip, not a thrust quake, according to experts. In a strike slip quake, the earth moves horizontally rather than vertically and doesn't displace large volumes of water.
 
 

Fiji - Flooding

Wednesday, 4 April, 2012

 
Fiji has experienced significant rains and high winds resulting in flooding in the low-lying regions. Anne Rehagen, GlobaLinks Learning Abroad’s Resident Director has been in touch with our students regarding their safety, what to expect and how to prepare. The students and the University of the South Pacific are in a safe location however, it is the outer areas (such the roads going to Nausori town – about 25 miles north of Suva), and especially the west (Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka, and Ba – 70+ miles west of Suva) that are most severely affected. Updates on the weather can be found at http://www.met.gov.fj/.
 
We will continue to monitor the situation and update you with any changes.
 
The U.S. Department of State issued the following advice for U.S. citizens living or traveling to Fiji.
 
April 3, 2012. Government Warning Issued for Fiji

SOURCE:
U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, informs U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to the Republic of Fiji that torrential rains have created widespread flooding in low-lying areas throughout Fiji. Some roads may be closed, and even those that have reopened may be difficult to use because of downed power lines and debris. Electricity, water, and landline telephone communications in some of the most affected areas have also been disrupted due to flooding. More rainfall and possibly more flooding are predicted in the next three to four days on Fiji's islands.
On Friday, March 30, the Fiji weather service issued the following warning: "A severe flood warning remains in force for major rivers, streams, and low lying areas in the western division. A strong wind warning is now in force for the land areas of the Fiji Group." We urge U.S. citizens to consult the Fiji Meteorological Service's website for the latest weather information.
 
You should protect your travel and identity documents against loss or damage, as the need to replace lost documentation could delay or otherwise complicate your return to the United States. Secure your travel documents (i.e., U.S. passport, birth certificate, picture IDs, etc.) by placing them in a safe, waterproof location or carrying the documents with them. You are urged to locate shelter, monitor media reports, and follow all official instructions.
Tell family and friends in the United States of your whereabouts, and keep in close contact with your tour operator, hotel staff, and local officials for information about the flooding, including possible evacuation and shelter information.
U.S. citizens in Fiji are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Those enrolled in STEP receive Messages and Emergency Messages for U.S. citizens. These messages are placed on our website at the same time that they are sent via email to STEP enrollees. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll in person at the U.S. Embassy. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
 
American Citizens Services Unit e-mail: consularsuva@state.gov
Updated information on travel and security in Fiji may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). For further information, please consult the Embassy website, the Country Specific Information for Tonga, as well as the Worldwide Caution. You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which also contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.
 
Copyright © 2012, U.S. Department of State

The views expressed are solely those of the author and/or source and are not necessarily the views of either HTH Worldwide or its partners and affiliates. Similarly, the accuracy of this article is solely the responsibility of the author and/or source.
 

Thailand - Explosions in southeast Bangkok

Tuesday, 14 February, 2012

You may be aware at this time of a series of small explosions that occurred in Bangkok, Thailand earlier today, Tuesday, February 14th. There is no reason at this time to believe that students are in any danger at the MUIC campus in northwest Bangkok. The explosions occurred on the Pridi Banomyong Highway, about 25 minutes away from campus, in southeast Bangkok.
Although the US Department of State has not introduced any Travel Warnings or Travel Alerts, it is always a good idea to keep an open eye when traveling, and report any suspicious behavior to authorities.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and our on-site Resident Director Aaron Clark will be reporting back to us throughout the days ahead as necessary. We will inform you all if the situation changes, however at this point there is no concern for the safety our students at Mahidol University.
For more information on the explosions, feel free to view the following articles:

Thailand - Possible Terrorist Threat

Friday, 13 January, 2012

The following announcement was made by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) of the United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security this morning. We have subsequently provided this advice to our students currently residing in Thailand and those who are planning for their upcoming semester abroad. We will continue to keep apprised of the situation and share any developments.

This message alerts U.S. citizens in Thailand that foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution when visiting public areas where large groups of Western tourists gather in Bangkok.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain a heightened awareness when out in public; be alert for unattended packages/bags in public/crowded places and report any suspicious behavior to the nearest law enforcement personnel. We also encourage you to keep a low profile in public areas, particularly areas frequented by foreign tourists.

The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok, and can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049, or by e-mailing acsbkk@state.gov. The Embassy’s after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-2-205-4000. The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is located at 387 Wichayanond Road in Chiang Mai. The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consulate General can be reached by calling 66-53-107-777 and by e-mail at acschn@state.gov. The after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-81-881-1878.

For the latest security information, you should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website, where current Worldwide Cautions, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings and health-information resources can be found. You can also obtain up-to-date information on security by calling 1-888-407-4747 (toll free) in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers in other areas, by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

We encourage you notify us of your presence in Thailand by enrolling in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Thailand - Flooding

Friday, 28 October 2011

The US Department of State has issued a Travel Alert to U.S. citizens due to difficulties related to travel in the flood-affected areas of the central and lower parts of northern Thailand, including Bangkok. Severe flooding has hampered transportation and limited access to some essential services in the affected regions. The U.S. Department of State recommends against all but essential travel to these areas of Thailand. This Alert extends only to the areas of Thailand listed in the following paragraph. Most tourist destinations, such as Phuket and Chiang Mai, are unaffected by the current flooding. Bangkok’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi, is operating normally. This Travel Alert will expire on January 26, 2012.

Currently, all of our students studying at Mahidol University in Thailand have not been directly threatened or harmed by any of the flooding. Classes at Mahidol University have been postponed until November 14th, 2011. We have been in constant contact with our students in Thailand, and are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

Monday, 24 October 2011

As you know, heavy monsoon rains in Thailand have caused floods in at least one third of the country, causing major disruptions in transportation and leaving more than 350 people dead. Flood waters have already reached some parts of Bangkok and are expected to peak in the next several days. While no major rainfall has occurred in recent days, disaster management officials continue to work hard in trying to contain and divert the flood waters.

Although most major roads throughout the Bangkok metro area are either under several feet of water or blocked with cars that have evacuated low lying areas, other transportation infrastructure remains operational. Both Don Mueang International Airport (VTBD/DMK) and Suvarnabhumi Airport (VTBS/BKK) are open despite the fact that each facility is surrounded by flooded neighborhoods. Some flight operations disruptions have occurred at Don Mueang due to one unused terminal being designated as an evacuation center for the surrounding area.

As our students at Mahidol University are to the west of Bangkok, the threat of flooding has not been as severe. Mahidol University has been named an evacuation center for the Buddhamonthon district. This indicates that this area is expected to remain a area safe from new flooding.

For more information on the flooding in Thailand, please visit the following news article.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15426529

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

There have been cases of severe flooding throughout Thailand. As of today, there is no flooding or water at the Mahidol University campus or at any of the international student housing facilities. Mahidol University has, however, chosen to cancel classes until Tuesday, October 25th, 2011. This decision was made primarily to benefit local students who commute to and from campus and may be affected by flood waters in surrounding areas. The International Relations Office will remain open on campus and continues to provide students with updates and assistance. Mahidol staff and the Asia Resident Director have been in contact with all of the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad students and have requested the students stay in close contact and provide updates if they choose to travel outside of Bangkok, although travel is not recommended at this time.

For informaiton view the Bangkok Post

Japan - Typhoon Roke

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Typhoon Roke initially made landfall in Japan on Wednesday afternoon (05:00GMT) in Hamamatsu, and is heading up the northeast coast of the main island of Honshu. The GlobaLinks program at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University has remained unaffected by this Typhoon, as the university is located in the city of Beppu on the southern island of Kyushu.

Typhoon Roke is headed toward Fukushima, where the majority of the devastation occurred during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant are working quickly to prepare the plant and ensure safety against the possible strike of the typhoon.

The GlobaLinks Learning Abroad staff will continue to monitor the situation, but do not expect the typhoon to affect our current participants.

For more information please see: http://www.japantoday.com/

Thessaloniki Demonstrations

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Greek Prime Minister will be in Thessaloniki on Saturday, September 10th to make a speech at the 76th annual Thessaloniki International Fair and protests have been scheduled ahead of his speech. These planned demonstrations and taxi strikes will likely affect Thessaloniki, Greece this Saturday. In order to maintain security, more than 5,000 police officers have been deployed to the area.

Our staff in Thessaloniki are aware of these developments and will ensure that our students remain far away from protests and gatherings. All demonstrations will be in a controlled and central area and GlobaLinks Learning Abroad staff will remain vigilant to ensure students’ health and safety.

For more information, please see: http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/9/47107

You can also read feedback from staff and students here.

London Riots

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

This is an update regarding the riots that occurred in London and other UK cities on the week of August 8th. Since Thursday, August 11th London has not experienced any additional rioting and other UK cities have remained calm as well. The UK government has continued to monitor the situation and has increased police in parts of the country in order to ensure the peace.

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad continues to be in contact with our staff in London and our UK partner universities and at this time we do not believe there is any risk associated with the riots to our students. We will continue to monitor the situation and will update you if the situation changes.

For more information please have a look at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/london-riots

 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

London and other cities in the UK have experienced unprecedented rioting over the past week. Since Saturday night, bands of youths have vandalized and looted their way across several shopping districts on the city's fringes. Some police officers and civilians have been injured as a result. Though most of the activity has been concentrated in neighborhoods on the outskirts of London (like Tottenham, Brixton, Clapham, and Croydon), other parts of London have seen sporadic outbursts of violence. On the past two nights, the looting had spread to other cities, including Manchester. London authorities are on high alert and have pledged more patrols for the city throughout the week in an effort to minimize future rioting. London was largely quiet on Tuesday and Wednesday night, due to the increased police presence.

All indications are that the majority of this violence was not motivated by political forces, but it does represent some level of social discontent among young urban populations. Words used in the media have included "senseless greed," "opportunistic," and "copycat criminality." Many images were caught on CCTV camera, and as of this morning, almost 800 suspects had been arrested in connection with the violence.

London has subsequently seen an upwelling of community spirit, as residents and volunteers have banded together to help clean up streets and shops in affected districts. A sense of general outrage pervades British society. Police forces are mobilized across the UK, and today, it seems mostly to be business-as-usual across London, as well as in Manchester.

Though GlobaLinks Learning Abroad doesn’t have any students currently studying in the UK, we are monitoring the situation very carefully. We are in contact with our partners in London in order to keep up with the most updated information and will monitor the situation as it unfolds. Students traveling to London and Manchester are advised to avoid the affected districts, as well as to remain vigilant at all times.

For more information please read:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-14460554

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/world/europe/10britain.html?_r=1&hp

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/london-riots

 
We will continue to monitor this situation as it unfolds, and will issue further advice as needed. At this point, however, we are continuing plans for the Bridging Cultures Program and semester start up as usual, though we will certainly make any changes, if necessary.

Cyclone Yasi Hits NE Queensland

February 4, 2011

UPDATE FROM AUSTRADE: Cyclone Yasi has hit and has caused a great deal of damage in Queensland. The cyclone crossed the Queensland coast about midnight Wednesday 2 February, and moved inland on Thursday 3 February. By late Thursday night it was downgraded by the Bureau of Meteorology to a tropical depression over Western Queensland. For more information, please visit http://www.qld.gov.au/cyclone/.

James Cook University Townsville and Cairns campuses have been closed this week as a result of the cyclone, but they will reopen from Monday 7 February. There has been significant damage to trees on both the major campuses of Townsville and Cairns, and some structural damage on the Townsville campus, but there was minimal damage to infrastructure. Water is back on and power has been restored to much of Townsville and Cairns (which will continue over the next day or so). Both airports - Cairns and Townsville - are open and everyone is in clean-up mode.

In terms of students arriving, all services will be up and running from Monday, 7 February. Campuses will be open, on-campus accommodation will be taking in students, and the arrival service will be operating. Given all the disruptions and the fact that some staff who live in the worst-affected areas may still have difficulties in reaching work, JCU staff members ask for your patience if things don't operate quite as quickly or as smoothly as usual.

For those wishing to help with relief efforts, donations are being accepted for the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal, which has been extended to help those Queenslanders affected by both Cyclone Yasi and the recent flooding in Queensland. Further information is available at http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html.

February 3, 2011

9:00 am (Denver time)

Northeastern Queensland has begun cleaning up and assessing the damage from Cyclone Yasi - so far there are no reported deaths from the massive storm. We are happy to report that all of our students and staff are safe and accounted for - including 5 students and 2 staff who waited out the storm together in a shelter in Cairns. Read current article>

Due to power outages throughout NE Queensland, we have not yet received any updates from our colleagues at James Cook University. We will continue to update this page as information becomes avaialble.  

February 2, 2011

4:45 pm (Denver time)

The sun has risen in Queensland and although there are still strong winds and a lot of vegetation damage, the news it good overall as the devestation does not appear to be as bad as feared. Read more>

10:30 am (Denver time)

Cyclone Yasi has made landfall in Innisfail, Northern Queensland at just before midnight on February 2, 2011 (Australia time) according to news reports. The cities of Cairns and Townsville are currently being affected by the high winds, the rains, and elevated tides and the airports are closed. The cyclone is an extremely dangerous category 5 storm (with winds stronger than Katrina) that is expected to cause massive destruction throughout NE Queensland.  Click here for more news articles about Cyclone Yasi
 
All students on the AustraLearn programs as well as our staff in Australia are safe and accounted for at present time.
 
We are continuing to monitor the situation and have re-routed our students bound for the Culture and Adventure Program in Cairns to Brisbane where they will enjoy activities and orientation sessions prior to continuing on to their university for the semester. We are working tirelessly to ensure students receive the best program possible in a safe destination and will continue to hold our Culture and Adventure Programs in the Brisbane area until it is safe to return to Cairns. We are working with STA Travel to ensure that all students on our group flights are re-routed as necessary.
 
We do have a group of students departing today headed for James Cook University, in both Townsville and Cairns. While they enjoy their Culture and Adventure Program in Brisbane, we will continue to assess the situation in Cairns and in Townsville to determine if/when the students can move on to Cairns and Townsville for their semester programs. We will work with students and the universities to make all necessary arrangements for our participants.
 
Additional updates will be posted here as available. The health and safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance in our decision making process. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this cyclone and we wish all the best to our team in Australia as well. 

Flooding in Queensland, Australia

January 26, 2011

Flooding has subsided and the areas affected by the flooding have returned to business as usual.

January 19, 2011

More details about the universities affected by the flooding, current clean up efforts and campus closures/openings can be found at the Universities Australia website.   

January 13, 2011

It is being reported that the flood waters have begun to recede in Queensland. Additional information can be found using the following links and updates noted below.


For updated news and information about the flooding:
ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Latest information for traveling in the Brisbane Area
Bureau of Meteorology
Queensland Government Flood Information

For specific university information in affected areas, go to:
CQUniversity
Griffith University
Queensland University of Technology
University of Queensland 


We will continue to provide updates as we monitor the situation and maintain contact with our partner universities as they prepare for the commencement of the semester. At present, we do expect our February programs to carry on as scheduled.
 

 

January 11, 2011

 

Heavy rain for several weeks has caused flooding in Queensland and the northern part of New South Wales. We have been monitoring the situation, and overnight we received additional updates from our Resident Director team and a few of our partner universities.

Rockhampton, where CQUniversity is located and houses the head office of our Resident Director Team (The South Pacific Educational Support Centre), was hit over the last two weeks with significant flooding and the airport has been closed since then. CQUniversity was not hit by the flood directly and is being used as an evacuation centre at present. While the airport remains closed, it is expected that the rivers will recede and that the airport will be open again by the time the February term commences.

Due to additional rainfall in Brisbane it is expected that there will be flooding in low lying areas of Brisbane over the next few days. The University of Queensland has canceled classes for the next two days, but they have advised that “We firmly believe that the start to the semester will not be impacted and that orientation and our preparation programs will not be disrupted.” The Brisbane airport remains open and fully functional.

At present, the universities and student housing in the areas of the Gold Coast, Townsville and Cairns remain unaffected.

For those students who are at Bond University, we have been advised by the university that registration and enrolment will continue as normal. You are advised to keep updated on the latest news and weather reports, to follow safety guidelines provided by the local government, and please do not travel to affected areas.

For news and additional information about current flood warnings and conditions you can view the following articles and websites:

Queensland Government
Bureau of Meteorology
ABC News Australia

Brisbane Times
CNN
CBSNews

At this time, we are expecting that our February program will commence as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation.

 

South Korea - North & South Korea Exchange Fire - November 23, 2011

On Tuesday, Novmeber 22nd, 2010 there was an an exchange of fire between North and South Korea. The firing happened at Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea, which is about 50 miles west of Incheon airport and about 90-100 miles west of the Seoul City Center. We are in the process of contacting all of our students in Korea to ensure they continue to monitor the news and engage with our Resident Coordinator, Sung Jo Park, in Seoul as well as Korea University staff to stay fully educated on the matter. Sung Jo Park has already reached out to the students, providing them with the most up-to-date information on the situation and is available for them to ask questions.

We just spoke with staff from the U.S. Department of State and they ensured us that at this time they do not foresee any Travel Alert or Travel Warning being issued for South Korea, as they believe it to be an isolated incident. The United States, Japan, and Russia have all condemned North Korea’s actions and China has showed its concern and desire to see both North and South Korea “make more contributions to the stability of the peninsula.” Read more about the incident HERE.

AsiaLearn will continue to monitor the situation and keep you and the students informed of any new developments. We welcome any questions that you may have about the situation in South Korea or the AsiaLearn Study Abroad Program.  

 


 

H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu)

AustraLearn/AsiaLearn/EuroLearn: Educational Programs of GlobaLinks Learning Abroad

Response and Policy Update as of August 2009

 

We are monitoring the information regarding the H1N1 (Swine) Flu. We will continue to review the advice presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as travel advisories / warnings provided by the U.S. Department of State and other government organizations.

 

We are committed to providing information to our students about this critical health issue. Currently there are no changes to our operations or programs as a result of the H1N1 (swine) Flu. Our emergency plan is in place for our programs abroad and we will make adjustments to our programs, as appropriate.

 

The best thing to do at this time is to stay informed as events develop and to know where to go for information.

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

World Health Organization

U.S. Department of State

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

HTH Worldwide - News and Resource Information

 

Additional Resources:

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

Australian Government Health Emergency 

Ministry of Health in New Zealand

Announcement - June 12, 2009

From the CDC

A Pandemic Is Declared
On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing global spread of the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. A Phase 6 designation indicates that a global pandemic is underway.

More than 70 countries are now reporting cases of human infection with novel H1N1 flu. This number has been increasing over the past few weeks, but many of the cases reportedly had links to travel or were localized outbreaks without community spread. The WHO designation of a pandemic alert Phase 6 reflects the fact that there are now ongoing community level outbreaks in multiple parts of world.

WHO’s decision to raise the pandemic alert level to Phase 6 is a reflection of the spread of the virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus.

From WHO
What is phase 6?
Updated 11 June 2009

Phase 6 is a pandemic, according to the WHO definition.

At this time, WHO considers the overall severity of the influenza pandemic to be moderate. This assessment is based on scientific evidence available to WHO, as well as input from its Member States on the pandemic's impact on their health systems, and their social and economic functioning.

The moderate assessment reflects that:
Most people recover from infection without the need for hospitalization or medical care.
Overall, national levels of severe illness from influenza A(H1N1) appear similar to levels seen during local seasonal influenza periods, although high levels of disease have occurred in some local areas and institutions.
Overall, hospitals and health care systems in most countries have been able to cope with the numbers of people seeking care, although some facilities and systems have been stressed in some localities.
WHO is concerned about current patterns of serious cases and deaths that are occurring primarily among young persons, including the previously healthy and those with pre-existing medical conditions or pregnancy.
Large outbreaks of disease have not yet been reported in many countries, and the full clinical spectrum of disease is not yet known.

Does WHO expect the severity of the pandemic to change over time?

The severity of pandemics can change over time and differ by location or population.

Close monitoring of the disease and timely and regular sharing of information between WHO and its Member States during the pandemic period is essential for evaluating future severity assessments, if needed.

Future severity assessments would reflect one or a combination of the following factors:

  • changes in the virus,
  • underlying vulnerabilities, or
  • limitations in health system capacities.

The pandemic is early in its evolution and many countries have not yet been substantially affected.
 

 

 

Announcement - May 14, 2009

From the CDC
Possible International Travel Delays Due to Novel H1N1 Flu Screening Procedures
This information is current as of today, May 14, 2009 at 17:29 EDT
Released: May 13, 2009


Current Situation
Due to the outbreak of novel H1N1 flu occurring in the United States and many other countries, airport staff in some countries may check the health of arriving passengers. Many countries, including Japan and China, are screening arriving passengers for illness due to novel H1N1 flu. These health screenings are being used to prevent the spread of novel H1N1 flu.


If you are sick with symptoms of influenza-like illness you should not travel. These symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.

 

Travelers should be aware that since the novel H1N1 flu outbreak is occurring in the United States, flights from the United States arriving in other countries may be specifically targeted for screening. United States travelers may be checked for fever and other symptoms of novel H1N1 flu and their travel may be delayed.

 

If you travel internationally from the United States, you may be asked to:

  • Pass through a scanning device that checks your temperature (the device may look like an airport metal detector, a camera, or a handheld device)
  • Have your temperature taken with an oral or ear thermometer
  • Fill out a sheet of questions about your health
  • Be quarantined for a period of time if a passenger on your flight is found to have symptoms of novel H1N1 flu
  • And, if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms, you may be asked to:
    - Have a medical examination
    - Take a rapid flu test which consists of a nasal swab sample
    - Be isolated if you are showing signs of respiratory illness consistent with novel H1N1 flu

CDC strongly encourages all passengers to cooperate with these procedures. Please note that the U.S. Department of State usually cannot interfere with the right of other countries to screen airline passengers entering or exiting their countries. Please consult the embassy of the country you will be traveling to for further information about entry screening procedures (see Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions for contact information)


To view this actual announcement on the CDC website, click here.
 

 

 

Announcement - May 12, 2009

Several countries are implementing new border entry procedures in response to the reported cases of H1N1 Flu. North America is considered an affected area, so travelers from the USA and Canada should expect additional screening procedures and delays upon arrival in your host country. These precautions are meant to reduce the spread of infection and ensure that you are healthy upon arrival. In general, travelers from North America may be required to complete an additional health declaration form and pass through a thermal-scanning checkpoint. Travelers found to have a fever and/or other flu-like symptoms may be detained for further assessment, examination and or quarantine. Because of these measures, processing of arriving passengers may take longer than usual.

When preparing to travel, you may want to take a few extra precautionary steps:

  • Monitor your temperature and health at home prior to departure to ensure that they do not have signs of the flu before embarking on the flight overseas
  • Avoid unnecessary travel prior to departing overseas (stay close to home, avoid crowds, keep hands washed)
  • Wear a mask on the flight to reduce exposure to infection

 

Announcement - April 27, 2009

There have been human cases of swine flu identified in Mexico, the U.S.A. and Canada and to offer advice for ways to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is actively investigating isolated human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) in several states and is working closely with Canada and Mexico and with the World Health Organization. Additional cases are suspected in Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, Israel, France, Brazil, Switzerland, Sweden and Spain.

It is important to keep yourself informed about health issues and to follow the guidelines for staying healthy. Information has been provided below from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - Information about Swine Flu
World Health Organization (WHO) - Information about Swine Flu


 

H1N1 Prevention Advice

CDC – Staying Healthy - What You Can Do to Stay Healthy
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

CDC - Preventing the Flu

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
  • Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

WHO – Prevention

  • cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing;
  • use paper tissues to contain respiratory secretions and dispose of them in the nearest waste receptacle after use; and
  • wash hands after having contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects or materials.


 

Safety in Australia - Attacks on Indian Students

We are monitoring the reports about discriminatory and violent acts against Indian students in the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne. We have approached our Sydney and Melbourne universities requesting advice regarding the situation as well. The responses are positive and encouraging. All of the universities have reached out to their international students addressing both their concern and condemnation of the situation, in addition to reassuring the students of the support systems that are in place on campus.

The universities are doing what they can to support their Indian students and all international students. Many have put initiatives in place (most of which have been in place) to reconfirm that the safety of their international students is a top priority. A few of these initiatives are:

  • Student safety sessions as part of orientation activities
  • Regular tips in email newsletters
  • Information on safety in Arrival Guides given to all international students
  • Dedicated support and welfare staff available to assist international students
  • 24 hour security service

In addition to the initiatives set forth by the Australian Universities, the Australian government is working closely with local law enforcement to ensure full justice is brought to the perpetrators and to ensure the safety of all persons within these communities.

We encourage students to look after themselves and their friends and to follow these guideslines with regard to safety:

  • Be informed and develop an awareness of current events
  • Avoid large crowds or demonstrations
  • Travel with a group at all times
  • Contact the proper authorities in emergency situations
  • Report any incidents to AustraLearn and host program staff

We will continue to provide information and updates with regard to this situation. Please contact us with any questions and concerns at 1-800-980-0033 or studyabroad@australearn.org.
 


 

Fiji - Political Situation Announcement April 27, 2009


Fiji - Country Information as provided by the U.S. Department of State
 

April 27, 2009

Fiji is a South Pacific island nation consisting of over 350 islands and islets, of which approximately 100 are inhabited. The capital is Suva. On December 5, 2006, in the fourth coup since 1987, the Commander of Fiji’s military force deposed the lawfully elected government of Fiji. There is currently an unelected interim government in place established by the military. The interim government abrogated the constitution and enacted Public Emergency Regulations on April 10, 2009, after the Court of Appeal declared the interim government illegal. The interim government also devalued the currency by 20% on April 15, 2009. Tourist facilities are available. The Fiji Visitors Bureau, which has a wide range of information of interest to travelers, can be contacted via the Fiji Visitors Bureau’s web site. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Fiji for additional information.


SAFETY AND SECURITY: Under Public Emergency Regulations currently in place, some basic rights have been limited, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. The independence of Fiji’s law enforcement and judicial systems is compromised, putting into question protections ordinarily afforded by the rule of law. The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to the Republic of Fiji at this time. While Fiji’s country situation appears calm on the surface, political, economic, and security uncertainties continue. It is possible that the security situation, especially in Suva, could deteriorate rapidly. American citizens in Fiji should remain vigilant, particularly in public places and near military activities in the greater Suva area, and should avoid demonstrations and large crowds. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful could turn confrontational and escalate into violence unexpectedly.