Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Travel Warning

A travel warning to Ethiopia was issued by the State Department about traveling during the election time in Ethiopia. This deeply bums me out as we were planning on doing everything we could to see one or both of our sponsored children in Africa while we were there.
One is in Uganda and one is in Zambia. I was a bit nervous about traveling between countries before, but now it just seems like it's out of the question. We were going to do this before we went to Ethiopia, as there's no way I'm traveling all over Africa with our baby boy.

All in all, I would say I am definitely intimidated about traveling to Ethiopia this summer and I hate that. I know there are so many beautiful things to see and experience in Africa, but within the last 2 weeks I've read some articles of some pretty serious stuff going on over there. Since it seems to be taking longer for Embassy dates to be issued, it may not be until later in July when we travel, so perhaps we'll just miss the election hard to really tell.

Here's the warning:

April 13, 2010

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Ethiopia before and after national parliamentary elections scheduled for May 23, 2010, and recommends against all but essential travel to Ethiopia during this period. This Travel Alert expires on July 1, 2010.

Past elections in Ethiopia have featured violence in Addis Ababa and other areas of the country throughout the campaign season, the election, and especially in the days and weeks following the announcement of election results. Election results are scheduled to be announced June 21, 2010.

U.S. citizens should be aware that even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations can turn violent. U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Ethiopia during this period are reminded to maintain a high level of security awareness at all times and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind. U.S. citizens should avoid polling places on election day, and be aware that authorities will strictly enforce specific prohibitions such as photography at polling stations. U.S. citizens are advised to monitor the situation via local media sources and the Internet. Significant traffic congestion, shortages of lodging availability, and large crowds throughout the country, particularly in Addis Ababa, are likely to inconvenience travelers. In addition, telephone services may be disrupted, as occurred during the 2005 elections.

Travelers also are reminded that extremists from Somalia and the heavy military buildup along Ethiopia's northern border pose risks to safety and security, particularly along Ethiopia's borders and in the Somali region. In southern Ethiopia along the Kenyan border, banditry and incidents involving ethnic conflicts are also common. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. Ethiopian security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions. For additional information, please see the most recent Country Specific Information for Ethiopia on our web site at gov.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Ethiopia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration web site to obtain updated information on travel and security within Ethiopia. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy. By registering, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

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