October 28th, 2019 – The Federal Republic of Somalia ‘Do Not Travel’ Advisory was reissued by the U.S. Department of State.
This Level 4 Advisory, published on October 28, 2019, informs international visitors to Somalia of extensive civil unrest and various health issues.
Furthermore, the U.S. government has an extremely limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Somalia, due to the lack of permanent consular presence.
Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Somalia, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more air travel information, consult the FAA’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices.
Previously, on September 25, 2019, the UK The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland, except for the cities of Hargeisa and Berbera to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel.
If you visit Hargeisa or Berbera, exercise a heightened level of vigilance and take care in public places where people gather. And, leave any area of unrest quickly and don’t attempt to watch or photograph it.
If you decide to travel to Somalia, the US State Department suggests the following action items:
- Identify key sources of possible assistance for you and your family in case of emergency, such as the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, FBI, the State Department, your employer (if traveling on business), and local friends/family in the high-risk area.
- Avoid sailing near the coast of Somalia and review the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
- Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney. Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and Members of Congress, if you are taken hostage or detained.
- Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
- Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.
- Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
- Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
- Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
- Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
- Enroll your trip to the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
From a health perspective, the US State Department says ‘medical facilities across Somalia have limited capacity and are often nonexistent in rural areas.’
And recently, on September 9, 2019, the CDC said that visitors should be current with certain vaccines, such as Routine Vaccines and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. This is because Somalia is included in the CDC’s Global Measles Outbreak Notice, issued on June 10, 2019.
Additionally, the Yellow fever virus is a risk in certain parts of Ethiopia, therefore, the CDC recommends a yellow fever vaccine, such as Stamaril, for travelers 9 months of age or older to these areas.
And, on June 25th, the Federal Republic of Somalia launched one of Africa’s largest immunization campaigns using oral cholera vaccines, such as Vaxchora. This vaccination campaign launched in late June 2019 and will reach more than 650,000 people over 1 year of age.
Furthermore, the CDC issued a Polio outbreak notice for Somalia in August 2019.
For anyone departing from the USA heading to Somalia, pre-departure vaccination services, related travel medications, and counseling appointments can be scheduled with a local pharmacy by visiting Vax-Before-Travel.
Travel news is published by Vax-Before-Travel.