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.
April 24, 2017
At approximately 6:40pm local time, an earthquake of an estimated 7.1 magnitude occurred 38km offshore, west-southwest of Valparaiso, and movement could be felt as far away as the Santiago metropolitan area. Seismic movement began on Saturday evening when an estimated 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck around the same area, resulting in multiple aftershocks. Reports indicate that continued aftershocks are likely. No tsunami alerts have been issued and there have been no reports of damages or injuries thus far. The ISA Chile resident staff reported that the Ministry of the Interior (ONEMI) briefly issued a preventative evacuation alert for the coast lines in the Valparaiso and O'Higgins regions, but the alert was soon called off. Valparaiso's public metro system has suspended services until further notice and nearby cities of Concón and Quintero are currently without electricity. ISA staff are checking in with students and host families, and students are being reminded of safe practices. Students are also being advised to check in with family back home, however, communications could be delayed as a result of over usage through local providers.
April 20, 2017
On Thursday evening, April 20, a police officer was fatally shot on the Champs-Elysees in central Paris. Reports indicate that the suspect was brought down by police, and police have closed off the area. The ISA Paris staff have communicated with students to make them aware of the incident, advise them of areas to avoid, and and instruct them to continue to heed the council of local authorities. Several ISA Paris spring programs are currently on spring break, and many students are traveling outside of the city. All students have been asked to check in with their families back home to let them know they are safe. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
April 18, 2017
Recent weeks have seen an increase in tensions on the Korean Peninsula in addition to an increase in rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea (DPRK). ISA has been closely monitoring these developments, in addition to the upcoming election for a new South Korea president, and any impact these events may have on our Seoul programs. The U.S. State Department has not issued any travel alerts or warnings for South Korea, nor have there been any recommendations that U.S. citizens stop traveling to South Korea at this time. ISA Seoul resident staff has reported that daily life in Seoul remains largely unaffected by recent events, and our spring programs have proceeded uninterrupted. The Seoul staff has been in regular communication with spring students to remind them of ISA safety procedures, offer support, and advise students to keep their families back home updated on their well-being.
ISA's Office of Health, Safety and Security is continuing to monitor the security situation in South Korea, including, but not limited to, reviewing any travel recommendations provided by the U.S. and other relevant governments, analysis by trusted security resources, and the most up-to-date information on the situation on the ground provided by the Seoul resident staff. Currently, all ISA Seoul programs, current and upcoming, are expected to continue as planned. ISA will promptly communicate with students, their home universities and emergency contacts should there be any changes to the security situation in South Korea or our programs.
April 6, 2017
Main Argentine labor organizations have called for a national strike on Thursday, April 6th to protest President Mauricio Macri's economic policies. Several of the organizations participating in the strike are transportation unions, therefore severe traffic disruptions are expected throughout Buenos Aires. Other public services and some private businesses throughout the city are also expected to participate in the strike, thus shutting down operations for the duration of the protest. Due to the strike, the Universidad de Belgrano (UB) has suspended classes on April 6th. All ISA students attending courses at the UB have been informed of the cancellations. The Universidad Argentina de la Empress (UADE) will remain open and does not plan to cancel courses at this time.
ISA students have been advised on the areas to avoid and reminded that it is against the ISA Code of Conduct to participate in strikes, demonstrations, or other political gatherings of any kind. At the time of this posting, ISA's Buenos Aires resident director reports that things remain quiet and calm in the Belgrano neighborhood, where the ISA office and UB is located. The ISA Buenos Aires resident staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students as necessary.
Brisbane, Gold Coast and Townsville
March 30, 2017
On Thursday, March 30th, former Tropical Cyclone Debbie (currently a tropical low) continued to travel southeastwards along Queensland, causing heavy rain and strong winds in Brisbane and Gold Coast. Continued rainfall is expected over the next 24 hours. As a precautionary measure, ISA host universities in Brisbane (Queensland University of Technology and University of Queensland) and Gold Coast (Bond University and Griffith University) were closed for the day. Bond University in Gold Coast will remain closed on Friday, March 31st, but all other impacted ISA host universities plan to re-open.
All ISA Brisbane and Gold Coast students were made aware of the university closures. ISA resident staff were in communication with students to make them aware of the potential for flash flooding, road closures and areas to avoid, and further instructions for staying safe. The ISA Brisbane resident director reported that the inner-city areas were experiencing persistent though not intense rain. ISA students are not housed in the low-lying areas that may be impacted by the flooding. ISA host universities have reported that students will be advised of alternative arrangements to make up for canceled classes. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
James Cook University - Townsville has reopened since TC Debbie initially made landfall, though students remain on study break.
Cairns and Townsville
March 27, 2017
Tropical Cyclone Debbie strengthened into a category four storm and made landfall along the north Queensland coast between Bowen and Arlie Beach (south of Townsville), early afternoon on Tuesday, March 28th. According to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, TC Debbie is expected to continue to move west-southwest over the next 12 to 24 hours, and destructive winds are no longer expected in Townsville.
As of 2:30 p.m. local time, ISA Townsville resident staff reported that the sky was overcast, but otherwise little impact from the storm had been felt in Townsville. JCU-Townsville remains closed and students are on study break. ISA Cairns staff reported that things remain calm in the city and James Cook University-Cairns remains open. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
March 26, 2017
Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which is presently a category three intensity storm, is expected to strengthen prior to making landfall on north Queensland on the morning of March 28th, local time. According to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, a warning has been issued for the coastal area from Cardwell to St. Lawrence, which includes Townsville.
The ISA Cairns and Townsville resident staff have advised students of the storm's approach, provided them with safety tips and asked students to continue checking their email for communications from ISA. Students from programs across Australia who reported traveling to Whitsundays over the weekend, an area within the warning zone, were advised to return to their respective program locations and safely made their way back. ISA's host university in Townsville, James Cook University, will be on a pre-scheduled study break from March 27th-31st. On Sunday, March 26th, as a precaution, JCU announced that its campuses will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, March 27th-28th. Cairns is expected to receive rain as a result of the storm, but is not within the warning zone. Additionally, ISA programs in Brisbane and Gold Coast are not expected to be impacted by Tropical Cyclone Debbie. At the time of this report, staff in Cairns and Townsville report that things remain calm in their respective cities. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation and will update students accordingly.
Valparaiso and Viña del Mar
March 13, 2017
On March 12th, Chile's National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry declared a red alert, the highest on a four-tier warning system, for the cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, as a result of a wildfire. The wildfire has affected the forest areas of the Ruta Las Palmas, located approximately 10km east of downtown Viña del Mar, in route to the capital city of Santiago. ISA students do not live or study in the affected zone of the city, and do not access the Las Palmas highway to go to and from the host university. The Regional Mayor of Valparaíso, Gabriel Aldoney, suspended all classes in Viña del Mar for the day, which affects ISA students at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI) and those who have courses at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso's (PUCV) campus in Sausalito. Classes at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso's main campus in Valparaíso have continued as normal. ISA students have been advised on the class cancellations. Electricity in certain areas of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar was lost for a short period of time on the evening of March 12th, however, ISA resident staff has reported that it has been restored in both cities. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students appropriately.
March 10, 2017
Following President Park Geun-hye's impeachment yesterday, demonstrations in Seoul are continuing to occur in the areas near Gwanghwamun Plaza and Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Approximately 4.4 miles from Korea University and 9.2 miles from Konkuk University). ISA students continuously have been advised to avoid the areas mentioned above. ISA's host universities stayed opened, and no classes were canceled on Friday, March 10th. ISA Seoul staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
March 9, 2017 updated 10:00 P.M. CST
The Constitutional Court unanimously voted to uphold President Park Geun-hye's impeachment, removing her from office. As a result, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will continue to serve as acting president until a special election is held in 60 days.
Police officers in the capital of Seoul and throughout the country are on standby for anticipated protests. Since the National Assembly initially voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye on December 9, 2016, protests have occurred throughout the country but primarily have been peaceful. ISA students have been notified of the court's ruling and reminded to avoid any protests. Classes at Konkuk University and Korea University are running as normal. The ISA Seoul resident staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students appropriately.
March 9, 2017
The Constitutional Court of South Korea is expected to announce the results of the impeachment trial of President Park Geun-hye at 11 AM KST on Friday, March 10th (8PM CST on Thursday, March 9th). If President Park is acquitted of all impeachment charges, her presidential authority will be immediately reinstated and she will serve out the remainder of her presidential term through February 2018. If President Park is found guilty, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will continue to serve as acting president until a special election is held within the next 60 days.
Large protests are expected in Seoul regardless of the outcome of the impeachment trial. Previous protests have been centered around the Gwanghwamun Plaza, City Hall, and the area near Anguk station where the Constitutional Court is located. ISA Seoul students have been advised to avoid potential protest areas and have been reminded that ISA students are prohibited from participating in demonstrations. ISA Seoul staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly once the court's decision is announced.
December 9, 2016
South Korea's President, Park Guen-hye's impeachment vote has passed the National Assembly on December 9, 2016, and Park's presidency has been officially suspended. While the Constitutional Court of Korea reviews the endorsed motion to justify the impeachment, the Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will be acting President for the duration of the court's deliberation. A large protest is currently planned for December 10, 2016 at Gwangwhamun area and sporadic protests in Seoul and other cities may continue to occur while the Constitutional Court of Korea is reviewing the motion, ISA students have been advised not to participate in any protests and to limit their time near the city hall in the Gwanghwamun area and near Anguk station where the Constitutional Court of Korea is located.
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