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.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Protests took place in Valparaiso, Chile on May 21st 2015 while President Michelle Bachelet addressed the country from the National Congress building located in the city center. May 21st is a national holiday commemorating a battle that took place during the War of the Pacific and every year the president travels from Santiago to Valparaiso to give a speech regarding the current state of the nation. This day often sparks marches and protests against the Chilean government with large numbers of people gathering in the streets of Valparaíso. Given today?s current political climate, the protests also focused on the lack of education reform and two local students who were killed last week. Although initially peaceful, violence broke out and police used tear gas and water cannons to stop protesters from breaking the barrier between the crowd and the congress building. All ISA students are accounted for and safe, and classes were not affected by the protests since yesterday was a holiday. Students have been reminded that participation in any protests are against the ISA Code of Conduct. The ISA Chile resident staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students as necessary.
Chile and Argentina
Puerto Montt, Chile
May 1, 2015
On April 30, 2015 the Calbuco volcano erupted for a third time. Although the latest eruption was smaller than the previous two, villages near Puerto Montt in southern Chile were once again evacuated as ash continued to cover the area surrounding the volcano. Local media confirmed that this blast does not pose a threat of danger; however, forecasts predict rainfall that could result in acid rain in the affected areas. ISA program locations in Valparaiso, Santiago, and Buenos Aires remain unaffected. The resident staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students as necessary. Flights departing from major international airports in Santiago and Buenos Aires are on schedule.
April 24, 2015
On April 22, 2015 the Calbuco volcano erupted in Puerto Montt, Chile resulting in a massive ash cloud nearly 6 miles high. The volcano is more than 600 miles south of the Valparaíso region in Chile. The Chilean government declared a red alert and evacuated thousands in affected southern regions. A second eruption took place on the morning of April 24th. No injuries have been reported thus far and those evacuated should be able to return to their homes soon. ISA programs in Chile and Argentina have been unaffected by these eruptions and all students are accounted for and safe. However, the volcano continues to spew ash into the atmosphere causing some airlines to cancel flights to and from Buenos Aires, Argentina. ISA's resident staff is monitoring local news and flight delays/cancellations in Buenos Aires for the potential impact on on ISA Spring students departing Buenos Aires this weekend. The resident staff will advise students as necessary, and will assist with alternative plans for any affected students. Some international flights from Chile's capital of Santiago have been cancelled as well though a majority remain unaffected.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
On Tuesday, April 21st, South African military were deployed in several areas of South Africa as a means of curbing the violence against African immigrants. While troops were deployed in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, there has been no increased military presence in the city of Durban, nor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as no xenophobic-related incidents have been reported within or near campus to date. The ISA Durban staff has reported that the University of KwaZulu-Natal has taken a very firm stance against all attacks directed at non-Nationals in South Africa, and the daily life of ISA students remains largely unaffected. The ISA Durban resident staff will continue to monitor the situation closely and advise ISA students accordingly.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
On Tuesday, April 14th, xenophobic attacks took place in Durban due to anti-foreigner sentiment, primarily toward African immigrants. The tension has spread throughout the region, and since then, there have been several clashes with local police, as well as looting of shops, store fronts and personal property, reportedly resulting in several dozen injuries and at least five deaths. Currently, the violence has been contained to the local townships approximately 20 miles away from where ISA students are located.
Today, April 16th, a peaceful protest with approximately 5,000 people in attendance took place in the Durban city center condemning the violence that has occurred over the last few days. ISA students were reminded that it is against the ISA Code of Conduct to participate in demonstrations or other political events of any kind. There has been no unrest or violence reported on the campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and all ISA students are accounted for and safe. The ISA Durban resident staff is closely monitoring the events, and will continue to advise students as necessary.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
On April 11th, around 11:30pm local time, a truck bomb exploded in the underground parking garage of a popular mall in Koh Samui, injuring seven people including a 12-year-old Italian girl. Reports indicate that the truck was stolen from Yala province in southern Thailand. Statements from the military government have suggested that the attacks were carried out by the same group responsible for the recent bombings in Bangkok. All ISA students are accounted for and safe. ISA resident staff in Bangkok will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
On Saturday, March 7th, two men were detained after a brief shootout with security forces following a grenade attack on a Bangkok military court, which caused minor damage to the parking lot but no injuries. After a preliminary investigation, Thai police believe that the men who carried out the attack are from the same network as those who detonated two small bombs outside of a luxury shopping mall on February 1st. As a result of the attack, there is an increase in security near government offices and tourist locations. Classes have not been affected, and the ISA resident staff will continue to make recommendations to students as necessary.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
On February 1st, shortly after 8 p.m., two small bombs were detonated in Bangkok on a walkway connecting an overhead train with Siam Paragon, a luxury shopping mall. Police are still investigating, and no groups have claimed responsibility for the improvised explosives. Early reports suggest that the explosives were not designed to be deadly. While no fatalities have been reported, at least one person was injured by the blasts. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered heightened security in public areas in the capital. All ISA students are accounted for and safe. ISA resident staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
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