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Worldwide Alerts

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.

Ireland and Scotland

Galway and Glasgow, Stirling

October 15, 2017

On October 15th, The Irish Meteorological Service (Met Eireann) issued a national advisory concerning Hurricane Ophelia, which is expected to transition to a post tropical storm as it approaches Ireland and Scotland. Ophelia is expected to make landfall in Ireland on October 16th with possible average wind speeds 50 miles per hour. A second landfall is projected in Scotland overnight on October 16-17th at a similar strength. Air, rail, road, and ferry services are likely to be affected. Power failures are possible, which could affect communication services. Coastal areas of western Ireland are likely to suffer the greatest impact with strong winds, heavy rains and high seas forecast. The Met Eireann has issued a red weather wind warning for some cities in Ireland, including Galway. ISA host university, The National University of Ireland, Galway will be closed on Monday, October 16th, and classes have been canceled. Students have been notified of the closing.

ISA students in Ireland and Scotland have been advised to follow safety precautions for tropical storm systems, check in with family in the States and monitor local news for updates. At this time, the ISA resident staff report that the situation on the ground in Ireland and Scotland remains calm. ISA will continue to monitor the path of Tropical Storm Ophelia and will update students accordingly.

England

London

October 7, 2017

On Saturday, October 7th, at approximately 3:00 p.m. local time, a vehicle struck pedestrians near London's Natural History Museum in the South Kensington area. Police are currently on the scene to investigate and it is not known if the incident was accidental or deliberate at this time. Early reports indicate that some pedestrians incurred minor injuries and the driver of the vehicle was detained.

All ISA London and Reading students were made aware of the incident and advised to avoid the area until further notice. Students were also advised to check in with family back home. ISA hosted an excursion to Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend, and many students were participating in the excursion at the time of the incident. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation and will update students accordingly.

Costa Rica

San Jose and Heredia

October 5, 2017

On October 4th, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) of Costa Rica issued a Red Alert advisory concerning Tropical Storm Nate, which is expected to impact the country over the next few days. The Red Alert signifies a possibility of flooding and wind damage over the coverage area that includes ISA programs locations in San Jose and Heredia. The ISA Costa Rica resident staff report rain in San Jose and Heredia, but note that ISA homestays and the ISA office in San Jose are currently unaffected. The Universidad Veritas in San José and the Universidad Latina in Heredia canceled courses for today, October 5th, following the government's recommendations regarding educational centers, and students were informed of the cancellations. Consequently, the ISA Heredia office located on the U.Latina campus is also closed today, however, the ISA San Jose office remains open and staff in both locations are available for students. As a precaution, ISA's planned excursion to Manuel Antonio this weekend has been rescheduled.

All students have been advised regarding safety precautions for tropical storm systems. At this time, the ISA resident staff report that the situation on the ground in Costa Rica remains calm. ISA continues to monitor the path of Tropical Storm Nate and will update students accordingly.

Spain

Barcelona

October 4, 2017

On Thursday, October 4, all five ISA Barcelona host universities re-opened and classes resumed after the universities closed on October 3 in observance of the region-wide general strike. Additionally, ISA Barcelona resident staff confirmed that transportation services in the city began operating again on October 4. All students were informed of these updates in advance so they could prepare to return to classes. The ISA Barcelona Office has remained open all week and continued to welcome students, despite the general strike. ISA resident staff further reported that demonstrations on October 3 remained relatively calm. Although workers across various sectors may continue to strike during the coming days, the Barcelona resident staff has reported that many businesses are operating normally throughout the city.

ISA is continuing to monitor the security situation in Barcelona and is following updates on the referendum closely. We will continue to update this Worldwide Alert with any significant developments related to our programs.

October 2, 2017

On October 1, the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain moved forward with its planned independence referendum. The Spanish government, calling the referendum illegal, deployed police to close voting booths around the region, leading to clashes between referendum supporters and police in Barcelona and throughout the region. Injuries have been reported as a result of the clashes. ISA Barcelona resident staff and its U.S.-based Office of Health, Safety and Security has been following the political situation and recent demonstrations closely, and students were advised ahead of the October 1 referendum of places to avoid and safe practices to observe.

ISA Barcelona resident staff reported that today, October 2, services were operating normally throughout the city and ISA host universities and office opened today. A region-wide general strike, however, is being planned for tomorrow, October 3, and is expected to impact various sectors in Barcelona and across the region. The ISA Barcelona resident staff is in communication with our host universities and have confirmed that all five universities will be closed tomorrow. Additionally, transportation strikes on October 3, which are expected to impact both metro and taxi services in the region, have also been confirmed. The ISA Barcelona staff is in communication with students to make them aware of class cancellations and any suspended services throughout the city. The resident staff is continuing to advise students to avoid demonstrations, follow directives provided by local authorities and monitor local news sources for updates. ISA will continue to monitor this situation as it develops and advise students accordingly.

Dominican Republic

Santiago

September 25, 2017

As of September 25, ISA Santiago staff report a continued calm in Santiago in the wake of Hurricane Maria. There was no damage reported to the ISA office, ISA homestays or ISA's host university, the Pontificia Universidad Católica - Madre y Maestra (PUCMM). The PUCMM reopened today for classes and ISA Service-Learning students will return to serve at local host organizations this week. The Center of Emergency Operations in the Dominican Republic has lowered its alert to yellow for the Santiago Province, reminding citizens that situations of risk could still occur. As hurricane season continues in the Caribbean, ISA will continue to monitor its potential impacts on the Dominican Republic and advise students accordingly.

September 22, 2017

As of September 22nd, the government of the Dominican Republic has discontinued all warnings for the country related to Hurricane Maria, according to the National Hurricane Center. Due to continued rains, the Center of Emergency Operations (COE) in the Dominican Republic has raised its alert to red for Santiago Province as flooding and landslides may occur. ISA's Santiago host university, The Pontificia Universidad Católica - Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) remains closed for the day. ISA students have been informed of the university's closure, however, they do not regularly have classes scheduled for Fridays. All ISA students have been confirmed safe after Hurricane Maria passed the Dominican Republic, and the resident staff are advising them on post-storm safety practices. ISA resident staff also report that there has been no significant damage to the PUCMM or the ISA office.

ISA is continuing to monitor the effects of Hurricane Maria and communicate with ISA Santiago students.

September 20, 2017

As of Wednesday afternoon, September 20th, Hurricane Maria is now a Category 2 storm and expected to pass offshore the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm may still produce significant rainfall, wind, and flooding over the entirety of the country. The coastal areas in the north are still most likely to suffer the heaviest impact. The inland city of Santiago is also likely to feel effects, and we are advising our students accordingly. The Center of Emergency Operations (COE) in the Dominican Republic has raised its alert to yellow for Santiago, the second of a three tier system, warning citizens that imminent situations of risk may occur.

ISA's Santiago host university, The Pontificia Universidad Católica - Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) has canceled any Thursday classes and students have been informed. Additionally, ISA has cancelled all Service-Learning activities for Thursday and Friday. ISA's excursion planned for this Friday to Santo Domingo has been postponed. The ISA Santiago office will be closed tomorrow and students have been advised to shelter in place at their homestay, where they have access to food and water, and to communicate with their families back home.

ISA continues to monitor the path of Hurricane Maria and communicate with ISA students in Santiago. At the time of this posting, the ISA resident staff report that the situation on the ground in Santiago remains calm. We will continue to make updates to this Worldwide Alert as they become available.

September 19, 2017

On September 19th, the US National Hurricane Center issued an advisory concerning Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm which is currently traveling westward across the Caribbean. The storm is projected to affect the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and could produce significant rainfall, wind, and flooding over the entire country. The coastal areas in the north are likely to suffer the heaviest impact. Nonetheless, interior cities like Santiago are also likely to feel the effects, and we are advising our students accordingly. The Center of Emergency Operations (COE) in the Dominican Republic has declared a green alert for Santiago, the lowest of a three tier system, warning citizens to remain alert and informed as the situation develops.

ISA has been monitoring the situation, including all messaging from the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, reports from ISA's trusted security sources, and is in close communication with ISA resident staff in Santiago. At the time of this posting, the ISA resident staff report that the situation on the ground in Santiago remains calm. In an effort to take reasonable precautions, ISA has informed students of best safety practices during a hurricane and has secured basic supplies such as food, water, and medicine. ISA's Santiago host university, The Pontificia Universidad Católica - Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) has not canceled any classes at this time and students have been advised to continue attending classes as scheduled.

At this time, we are not planning on evacuating students from the Dominican Republic. However, we are prepared to initiate our evacuation protocol should it become necessary.

United Kingdom

London

September 17, 2017

On September 17, the United Kingdom lowered its threat level from "critical" to "severe" after a series of arrests in connection with the attack on Parsons Green Station. Authorities noted, however, that the traveling public will still see an increased police and military presence in the coming days and should still remain vigilant. ISA resident staff continue to report that things are calm on the ground. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation and will advise students accordingly.

September 15, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. CST

As authorities continue to search for the suspects from the attack in the Parsons Green Station earlier today, the United Kingdom raised its threat level from "severe" to "critical", the highest in its five tier system. Travelers can expect increased security measures, such as the deployment of additional police and military personnel, and should remain vigilant. ISA resident staff report that things continue to stay calm on the ground. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.

September 15, 2017

On the morning of September 15th, at approximately 8:30am (local time), a device was detonated on a Tube train in southwest London's Parsons Green station. There were no fatalities as a result of the blast, but it has been reported that some are being treated in nearby hospitals for injuries. No arrests have been made at this time in relation to the incident, which authorities at this time are considering terrorism. Tube service has been suspended on the Green District line between Earl's Court and Wimbledon while the incident is being investigated. The ISA London resident staff have been in communication with students to make them aware of the incident and to check in with ISA and family back home. All current ISA London students are safe and accounted for. The London staff have reported that things have remained calm in the city while the emergency response and investigation are underway. ISA Resident Staff across Europe and North Africa will also check in with any students who reported travel to London over the weekend. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.

Korean Peninsula

Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan

September 14, 2017

Just after 7:00 a.m. (local time) on September 15th, North Korea launched another projectile that flew over Japan's Hokkaido island before landing approximately 1,200 miles east of the island into the Pacific Ocean. Japan did not attempt to intercept the missile, but did activate it's "J-Alert" system, warning residents to take shelter while the missile passed. Hokkaido is the northern most prefecture in Japan, and its capital city Sapporo is approximately 1100 km from Tokyo. ISA's Tokyo Resident Director reported that the situation in Tokyo remains calm. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

September 3, 2017

On Sunday, September 3rd at approximately 12:30 p.m., local time, North Korea conducted a hydrogen bomb test at its Punggye-rj underground test site, in the northwest of the country. Seismologists initially detected a tremor with an estimated 6.3 magnitude, which was later determined the result of North Korea's nuclear test. Chinese officials reported a second, weaker, tremor was detected shortly after. The September 3rd test was the sixth such test conducted by North Korea since 2006. The U.S. and South Korea governments were joined by other leaders in the international community, including China and Russia, in condemning North Korea's actions.

ISA Resident staff in Seoul and Tokyo reported that things remained calm in their respective cities and the recent events had no impact on ISA programs. All ISA programs are running uninterrupted. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation closely and will continue to update this Worldwide alert with any significant developments.

August 28, 2017

Just before 6:00 a.m. (local time) on August 29th, North Korea launched another projectile. Japan's Prime Minister confirmed that the projectile flew over northern Japan and landed in the shores off the coast of Hokkaido. Japan did not attempt to intercept the missile, which broke into pieces before landing offshore. Residents in Hokkaido were advised to take shelter while the missile passed. Hokkaido is the northern most prefecture in Japan, and its capital city Sapporo is approximately 1100 km from Tokyo. ISA's Tokyo Resident Director reported that the situation in Tokyo remains calm. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

August 26, 2017

On the morning of August 26th (local time), North Korea launched three short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea). The missile launch, which came in the midst of the U.S. and South Korea's joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises, was reportedly unsuccessful. Officials from the U.S. and Japan have remarked that this latest provocation from North Korea did not threaten the U.S., Japan or Guam.

ISA programs in Seoul and Tokyo are continuing to run uninterrupted and fall programs in Tokyo are expected to start as planned. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

August 11, 2017

On August 5th, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution imposing additional economic sanctions against North Korea as a result of their recent missile tests. In response to these sanctions, North Korean authorities have made various statements threatening the United States, which have been met in kind by statements from the U.S. administration. Among these threats, North Korean military authorities released a statement on August 9th threatening to launch missiles in the vicinity of the U.S. Territory of Guam. Despite this increased rhetoric, Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo released a statement saying that the security situation in Guam remains unchanged and that there has been "no change in the threat level resulting from North Korea events." Several security analysts have noted that the United States and South Korea are scheduled to begin their annual "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" joint-military exercises on August 21st. Historically, North Korean rhetoric towards the U.S. and South Korea has increased prior to these annual defensive exercises.

ISA South Korea and Japan staff have reported that the recent rise in rhetoric has not had an effect on daily life in Seoul and Tokyo, respectively. ISA programs currently on the ground in South Korea and Japan have not been impacted by these recent provocations, and all upcoming ISA programs in Asia are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

July 28, 2017

At approximately midnight on the evening of July 28th / morning of July 29th (local time), North Korea fired a ballistic missile not far from Panghyon Air Base in North Pyongan Province. Early reports indicate that the missile traveled for approximately 45 minutes and is believed to have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). American, Japanese, and South Korean officials have confirmed that the launch was a ballistic missile, though authorities have yet to determine the range of the missile that was fired.

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea or Japan. All ISA Seoul and Tokyo programs are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

July 3rd, 2017

At approximately 9:40 a.m. (local time), North Korea fired a ballistic missile from Banghyon in North Pyongan Province. Early reports indicate that the missile traveled approximately 930 kilometers and may have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea or Japan, though leaders of both countries continue to condemn North Korea's provocations. All ISA Seoul and Tokyo programs are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

May 28, 2017

Early Monday morning, May 29th (local time), North Korea fired a ballistic missile near the city of Wonsan, Kangwon province, toward the eastern part of the Korean Peninsula. According to a statement from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missile flew about 450 kilometers and reportedly landed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. All ISA Seoul programs are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

May 21, 2017

Sunday afternoon, May 21st (local time), North Korea test fired a medium-range ballistic missile near the city of Puckchang in South Pyongan Province. The missile is believed to have traveled approximately 500 Kilometers (300 miles) and landed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) between South Korea and Japan.

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. All ISA Seoul programs are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

May 13, 2017

Early Sunday morning, May 14th (local time), North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile near the city of Kusong in North Pyongan province. The missile is believed to have traveled approximately 700 Kilometers (435 miles) and landed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) between South Korea and Japan. While South Korean and American authorities have yet to determine what type of missile was fired, initial reports suggest that it was not an intercontinental ballistic missile.

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

April 28, 2017

Early Saturday morning, April 29th (local time), North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile, near Bukchang, South Pyeongan Province. The missile was supposedly fired in the direction of the Sea of Japan (East Sea), and it's actual distance traveled has yet to be determined, while some news outlets are reporting that the test failed. The missile test occurred several hours after U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, addressed the United Nations during a special meeting to call for increased pressure on North Korea. As recently as Wednesday, April 26th, the Trump administration noted that it was still focusing on economic and diplomatic resolution to the increased tension with North Korea, though both U.S. and North Korean leaders continue to exchange rhetoric.

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert 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.

Dominican Republic and Cuba

Santiago and Havana

September 12, 2017

On Tuesday, September 12th, Irma was downgraded to a Tropical Depression by the National Hurricane Center. Before making landfall in the U.S. on Sunday, September 10th, the storm passed near the northern coasts of the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Areas in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where ISA operates including the ISA office, ISA homestays, and the host university PUCMM, were not significantly impacted by the storm. The PUCMM resumed normal operations on Friday, September 8th, and as of Monday, Sept 11, all evacuated ISA students safely returned to Santiago to resume their fall semester program. Consular operations at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo are open on a limited basis, but US Citizen Services are unaffected.

In Havana, Cuba, high winds, heavy rain, and sea level surge have impacted the city resulting in flooding and power outages. The Jose Martí International Airport is expected to reopen today to resume full operations. The U.S. Embassy in Havana has reported flooding in the area surrounding the embassy; thus, it is operating with limited services until further notice. ISA will continue to monitor the situation on the ground in Havana and make recommendations accordingly in preparation for ISA Cuba fall programs.

September 7, 2017

As of Thursday morning, September 7th, Hurricane Irma remains a Category 5 storm. Hurricane force winds are expected along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic as Hurricane Irma passes Hispaniola. The Hurricane Warning remains in effect from Cabo Engaño to the northern border with Haiti and the Tropical Storm Warning remains from south of Cabo Engaño westward to the southern border with Haiti. Hurricane Irma is expected to continue moving westward, and is expected to reach Cuba this weekend. On September 6th, the U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Warning for Cuba in anticipation of the storm.

All ISA students have safely evacuated from the Dominican Republic. ISA's Santiago host university, the PUCMM, remains closed today as the storm passes. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation and will communicate with students, their emergency contacts, and home universities when the PUCMM reopens and it is safe to return to the Dominican Republic. ISA fall programs in Cuba have not started yet. We will continue to make updates to this Worldwide Alert as they become available.

Santiago

September 6, 2017

Late Tuesday, September 5th, the U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Warning for the Dominican Republic in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, which is projected to make landfall in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, September 7th. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Irma is currently classified as a Category 5 storm, and a Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engaño to the northern border with Haiti. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from south of Cabo Engaño westward to the southern border with Haiti. Authorities in the Dominican Republic have preemptively declared a yellow alert for the province of Santiago, which is further inland from the coastal areas.

ISA's Office of Health, Safety and Security has been monitoring the situation, including all messaging from the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo and reports from ISA's trusted security sources, and is in close communication with ISA resident staff in Santiago. At the time of this posting, the Santiago resident staff report that the situation on the ground in Santiago remains calm and it has not started to rain. In an effort to take reasonable precautions, ISA has secured flights and is currently preparing students for a possible temporary evacuation to the United States until Hurricane Irma passes the Dominican Republic. ISA's Santiago host university, The Pontificia Universidad Católica - Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), will close at noon on Wednesday, September 6th and remain closed on on Thursday, September 7th. ISA has cancelled all Service-Learning activities for this week.

ISA is communicating with the home universities and emergency contacts of students currently abroad in Santiago. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make updates to this Worldwide Alert as they become available.

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For further information, please refer to ISA's Health and Safety section, particularly the information regarding the monitoring of world-wide security levels.

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