The following alerts are based on ISA's direct observation, U.S. Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, and expert consultation.
Spain and Morocco
Monday, January 25, 2016
On Monday, January 25th, an earthquake estimated between a 6.0 and 6.3 magnitude struck in the Mediterranean, off the coast of southern Spain and northern Morocco at around 5 am local time. The earthquake occurred approximately 100 miles southeast of Malaga and near the coast of Al Hoceima, Morocco, approximately 200 miles north of Meknes. While the ISA on-site staff in Malaga and Meknes reported that tremors were felt briefly early this morning, there have been no reports of injuries or warnings issued as a result and only small-scale damages were reported in towns more proximate to the earthquake's epicenter. ISA on-site staff in both locations reported that daily activities have remained normal in both cities. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation and advising students accordingly.
Sunday, February 7th, 2016
On the morning of February 7th, around 9:30 a.m. local time, North Korea's state-run television media announced that the North Korean military had successfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite into space. A U.S. defense official said that, based on the rocket's trajectory, it did not pose a threat to the U.S. or our allies. The launch occurred about a month after North Korea's purported hydrogen bomb test. An emergency U.N. Security Council meeting will take place on Sunday at 11 a.m. in New York, the purpose of which will be to discuss a potential international response.
All ISA Seoul students have been accounted for and are safe. They have also been informed of this latest development. It is still unclear whether any further security measures will be taken in South Korea, however, ISA will continue to monitor the situation closely and update accordingly.
Monday, January 4, 2016
On Monday, January 4th, an estimated 6.7 magnitude earthquake occurred around 4:35 a.m. local time in the far Eastern Manipur state of India near its border with Myanmar and Bangladesh. While effects were felt in the immediate area, along with tremors experienced in surrounding cities, there have been no disruptions reported or warnings issued for the planned locations of ISA's Custom Program in Northern India, all well over 1,000 miles from the earthquake's epicenter. ISA staff and our office of Health, Safety and Security is continuing to monitor the situation and will advise students accordingly, including any resulting safety recommendations in light of today's earthquake.
France and Western Europe
Monday, January 4th, 2015
The Brussels terror alert was reduced to a level two on Monday from the previous level three according to various reports quoting Belgian authorities on Monday. This followed the conclusion of the New Year's holiday where the government had previously canceled celebratory events in Brussels as a precautionary measure. According to the Belgian interior ministry, a level 2 alert signifies that a terror threat is now unlikely. The ISA Brussels Spring 2016 program is scheduled to begin this week without any anticipated interruptions. ISA will continue to monitor safety and security information in Belgium and advise students as needed.
Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
The Brussels terror alert was reduced to a level three on Thursday, November 26th, four days earlier than anticipated. Universities in Brussels re-opened as planned on Wednesday, November 25th, including Vesalius College, where ISA students are enrolled. The metro system began operating that same day, and has since resumed its full schedule. While an increased security presence remains throughout the city and residents are reminded to remain aware of their surroundings, the ISA Brussels resident staff reports that daily life has returned to a relatively normal state. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
Monday, November 23, 2015
On Monday, November 23rd, Belgian authorities advised that all schools and universities as well as the metro will remain closed on Tuesday, November 24th, but are expected to re-open on Wednesday, November 25th. The terror alert level will stay at level four through the week and is expected to be restored to a level three on Monday, November 30th. All ISA Brussels students have been advised by ISA, as well as their host institution, of these updates and to not attend classes on November 24th. ISA resident staff and our office of Health, Safety and Security will continue to monitor the situation and provide new information as it becomes available.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Belgian authorities recently held a press conference detailing that security measures will be extended through tomorrow, Monday, November 23rd. As a precaution, all schools and universities will be closed in addition to the metro and many local shops. All ISA Brussels students have been advised by ISA, as well as their host institution, of these updates and to not attend classes tomorrow. ISA resident staff and our office of Health, Safety and Security will continue to monitor the situation and provide new information as it becomes available.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
As Belgian authorities continue to search for individuals suspected to have been connected to the November 13th attacks in Paris, early Saturday morning, Belgian authorities raised the terror alert for Brussels to level four (the highest level), while the alert in the rest of the country remained at level three. Belgian authorities advised the public to avoid places of large gatherings, such as airports, concert venues, sporting events, and train stations. The metro system was closed and is expected to remain so throughout the day, and security presence throughout the city has been increased.
All ISA Brussels students were advised by ISA and their host institution of these increased security measures and have been instructed of places to avoid. It has been reported that police raids have taken place in the Molenbeek-Saint-Jean area of Brussels and that additional police operations may take place in the Saint-Josse-ten-Noode and Schaerbeek areas. ISA students do not live in these areas and they have been made aware to stay away. The ISA Brussels resident staff remain available to students and will continue to advise them throughout the weekend. ISA Resident staff across Western Europe are advising their students accordingly. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to students.
Brussels, Paris and Rome
Friday, November 20, 2015
On Monday, November 16th, all ISA host universities re-opened as planned with increased security measures in place and students returned to classes. While France's state of emergency was extended for three months, nearly all government offices, businesses, and schools remain open, and transportation services in Paris are running with limited interruptions. A commemorative gathering to honor the victims of last Friday's attacks that was scheduled to take place today at the Grande Mosque was cancelled due to security concerns. All ISA students have been reminded to avoid large gatherings and demonstrations of any kind, even those intended to be peaceful.
On Wednesday, November 18th, security raids in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis were conducted and resulted in several arrests. Security has been heightened throughout Europe, including in Brussels, where police searched for individuals believed to have been connected to the November 13th attacks in Paris, and in Rome, where a security message was released on November 18th by the U.S. Embassy advising citizens to avoid certain tourist attractions.
The ISA Paris staff, along with all ISA resident staff across Europe and Northern Africa, are continuing to advise students on safety precautions, areas to avoid, and reiterating the importance of reporting all travel plans. Resident staff along with ISA's office of Health, Safety and Security are closely monitoring the situation across all ISA program sites, and will remain in constant contact with students for the remainder of their programs.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Following the attacks that occurred on Friday, November 13th, all ISA Paris program participants have been accounted for and are safe. The same is true for all ISA students in other program locations who reported travel to Paris over the weekend. The Paris resident staff have remained available to students throughout the weekend to answer any questions they may have and provide support. They have been providing students with information and instructions for staying safe, as well as advising them to keep their family and loved ones back home updated on their well-being. Students have also been advised that counseling services are available.
While Paris universities were closed over the weekend, they are scheduled to re-open on Monday, November 16th. Following protocol, increased security is expected at each institution and students have been advised on any special instructions communicated by our partner institutions. The Paris staff is in communication with our partner universities regarding any additional resources they are putting in place for students as a result of Friday's events. At least one partner institution has indicated that it will observe a moment of silence at noon tomorrow, and the ISA Paris office will do the same. Students are invited to join.
Although the state of emergency remains in France, there has been no recommendation by the U.S. Department of State for American citizens to evacuate Paris. We will continue to closely monitor the security situation, and make recommendations to students accordingly. As new information becomes available from local authorities as well as our French partner institutions, the Paris staff will continue to be in communication with our students.
Friday, November 13, 2015
France has declared a state of emergency in response to multiple attacks that occurred across Paris this evening, November 13th. The attackers were reported to have been using automatic weapons, and at least one explosion occurred near the Stade de France. One of the attacks occurred at the Bataclan, a concert hall in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris, where a hostage situation ensued. It has now been reported that this hostage situation has ended. In light of the state of emergency, military reinforcements have been deployed to Paris, and France has temporarily closed its borders, though the nature of this closure is still unknown.
The majority of ISA students in Paris have already been accounted for and remain safe. Currently, the ISA Paris staff is continuing to reach out to students to confirm their safety while urging them to remain sheltered, follow all local security directives, and to communicate with their parents. ISA students studying in other European locations who reported travel to Paris this weekend are also being contacted. The ISA Paris staff, along with ISA's U.S.-based Health, Safety, and Security Department is closely monitoring the situation and will advise students accordingly.
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