News Watch

In light of the threat of terrorist activity, the Department of State warns against nonessential travel to Pakistan, especially the western border regions. Avoid hotels that do not apply security measures, and remain aware in locations frequented by Westerners.

While security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, small towns and rural areas of Colombia still can be extremely dangerous due to the presence of narcoterrorists, and in both urban and rural areas common crime remains a significant problem. The level of violence in Buenaventura remains high.

Extortion-related bombings have occurred recently in Bogota (Jan. 27 in a commercial building, with two fatalities), Cali and several smaller cities. Many expatriates frequent...


CHOLERA — Cases of cholera have been reported in all of Zimbabwe’s provinces and in many other African nations. From Aug. 26, 2008, through March 16, 2009, 91,265 suspected cases and 4,030 deaths were reported in Zimbabwe. The disease is spread through untreated sewage and contaminated drinking water.

MENINGITIS — Since January 2009, health officials in India have reported 230 deaths and 2,000 possible cases of meningitis in the northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram...


In Southern Africa, extreme rainfalls since the beginning of the year have caused flooding, displacing thousands of people and leading to about 100 deaths. A state of emergency has been declared in north-central and north-eastern Namibia, the worst hit. Flooding also has affected Angola, northern Botswana, southern Malawi, Mozambique and most of Zambia.


An oil spill struck at least 40 miles of beaches on the coast of Queensland, Australia, and nearby Moreton and Bribie islands. In rough seas during Cyclone Hamish on March 11, thirty-one containers of ammonium nitrate fertilizer fell off a cargo ship, subsequently puncturing two of the ship’s tanks and releasing 250 tons of heavy fuel oil.

Worst hit was Moreton Island, a national park 25 miles off the Sunshine Coast, but authorities hoped to reopen the western and northern sections to...


As ITN went to press, the State Department had travel warnings on 29 destinations: Yemen, Colombia, Madagascar, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Pakistan, Eritrea, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Philippines, Israel/West Bank/Gaza, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Nepal, Somalia, Chad, Kenya, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq and Central African Republic. 

For details, call the State Department at 202/647-5225 or visit http://...


Whipped by winds and aided by high temperatures and a long drought, ferocious bushfires ravaged more than 1,200 square miles of Victoria state in southeast Australia in early February. More than 210 people died, 900 homes were destroyed and over 7,000 people ended up in shelters. Two towns, Kinglake and Marysville, were severely damaged.

Police investigating the fires have cited natural causes but also suspect arson, having arrested at least one suspect. At press time, fires were...


Heavy rainfall through December 2008 and January and February 2009 caused flooding in the Solomon Islands, particularly on Guadalcanal and Savo Island, where homes and bridges were destroyed. In Guadalcanal, nine people were reported dead and more than a dozen missing.

Flooding due to the heavy rains also caused damage in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. In January, floods in Fiji killed 11 and forced 9,000 into shelters (March ’09, pg. 20). Throughout the...