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Hurricane Sandy continues to head northwards

Date Posted: 30/10/2012 9:30:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Tropical Storm Sandy has begun to significantly affect coastal areas of the north eastern states. From North Carolina to New York, coastal flooding has been reported and winds of up to 75km/h (21mph) are being experienced. These conditions are forecast to worsen in the coming hours. The geographical extent of the severe weather is expected to extend to New England and inland to West Virginia, Ohio and eastern parts of Kentucky. Tropical Storm Sandy is currently centred roughly 415km (260 miles) south of New York City. The storm system has accelerated and is moving at approximately 30km/h (18mph) in a north north-westerly direction. The storm is forecast to change direction and follow a north westerly trajectory during the course of 29 October before making landfall between Baltimore and New York City (likely over the southern coast of New Jersey) at approximately 02:00 local time on 30 October. As mentioned, severe weather conditions are forecast to worsen significantly ahead of landfall and will continue to affect the region until at least 31 October. Waves of up to 12ft are expected, while rainfall exceeding 30cm (12 inches) and winds in excess of 150km/h (90 mph) are also probable. In the next few days, higher-than-usual levels of snowfall should be expected in inland areas affected by Tropical Storm Sandy. A range of pre-emptive measures have been enacted by authorities. In Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, intra-city public transport services have been suspended until further notice. Most flights transiting major international airports in the affected region have been cancelled on 29 October. In addition to travel disruptions, mandatory evacuation orders are currently in effect for Zone A in New York City, the Barrier islands in New Jersey and some coastal areas of Connecticut. Significant road closures are also in effect in the region. Further disruptions to air, maritime and road transport, as well as to utilities such as water and electricity, should be expected. Clients in the aforementioned areas are advised to monitor local media and meteorological services for further weather-related developments and advisories from the local authorities. In addition, affected clients should review their emergency plans and ensure that they have access to provisions such as battery-operated torches, as well as food and water. Lastly, persons intending to travel in the affected states in the coming days are advised to contact their travel provider for an update on the status of their travel arrangements. Click here for further information.
 

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Severe weather disrupts travel in Europe

Date Posted: 5/02/2012 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Heavy snowfalls have effected much of Europe including the UK causing travel disruptions.  Wales, NE and SE England are worse effected with many flights being cancelled at Heathrow and disruptions to rail services.  Monitor local media for updates and advisories.   If intending to travel by road exercise extreme caution.  If travelling by air, check with the airline, airport or travel provider to confirm.  For information on disruptions at Heathrow airport click here.

Italy, Montenegro, Algeria, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are all affected by inclement weather conditions, snow and extreme cold causing travel disruptions which are expected to continue for a few days.  Click for more information.

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FIJI

Date Posted: 25/01/2012 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Kristina
Flooding has led to the evacuation of at least 1,000 people in Fiji's Western Division on 23 January. The evacuations come as a result of heavy rains, which caused flooding in low-lying areas across the country, particularly in the west, where the Nadi River reportedly overflowed in certain areas on 22 January. A curfew, expected to commence at 18:00 local time and remain in place for 24 hours, has been implemented in Nadi, where authorities are anticipating further damage caused by the evening high tide on 23 January. Landslides have also been reported in the northern region of Vanua Levu. Fiji experiences heavy rain as a result of tropical storms from November to April. The latest flooding comes as a result of heavy rain which has occurred over the last several weeks. Heavy rainfall during the week of 15 January led to power and water outages, and the current precipitation may lead to similar service disruptions. The inclement weather is expected to ease from 24 January. Clients in the affected region are advised to defer travel to low-lying areas, particularly along rivers, many of which may be swollen. Due to the ongoing risk of landslides, clients should exercise heightened caution in hilly areas. In addition, clients are advised to monitor local media for weather updates and should adhere to advisories issued by the authorities. Clients should also anticipate travel disruptions and possible power and water outages in the short-term.
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SENEGAL

Date Posted: 13/12/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert
The Ministry of Health in Senegal notified the WHO of three cases of yellow fever in Kédougou and Saraya Health districts, near the border with Mali and Guinea Conakry.The case was detected as part of a surveillance project for dengue and chikungunya conducted in the region. The WHO reference laboratory for Yellow Fever at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar confirmed the case (IgM by ELISA test and Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test or PRNT) on 10 October 2011. Two other cases - 29 year-old female and 3 year-old male - were reported on 10 and 11 August 2011. All three cases have fully recovered. An outbreak investigation team assessed the situation in the Kédougou and Saraya districts from 8 to 29 August 2011, where a total of 76 people (suspected cases and their contacts, including 10 deaths) were identified. The Ministry of Health of Senegal plans to organize a vaccination campaign in mid-December 2011, targeting the non-vaccinated individuals aged nine months and above, excluding pregnant women in Kédougou, Saraya and Salémata health districts. The mass vaccination campaign aims to protect the susceptible population living in the area, which appears to have increased due to recent migration from neighboring countries.
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INDONESIA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Date Posted: 24/11/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

A rabies outbreak has been reported in Bali, Indonesia. Human and animal rabies cases have been confirmed near popular tourist destinations throughout the island. Despite systematic efforts to control rabies in dogs, the outbreak is continuing on the island. If your activities will bring you into contact with animals such as dogs, cats, bats, or other carnivores, you should consider pre-exposure rabies vaccination, which is a three-shot series (days 0, 7, and 21 or 28) given before travel. Avoid touching all animals, including wild animals and pets. Pets in other countries do not always vaccinate against rabies. If you are bitten, wash the wound well with soap and water. See a doctor right away, even if you don’t feel sick or your wound is not serious. To prevent rabies, you may need to start a series of vaccinations immediately.

An outbreak of cholera has been ongoing in the Dominican Republic since November 2010. Cases continue to remain at elevated levels. The provinces with the highest number of cases in September 2011 were San Juan, Santo Domingo, and the National District. Dominican Republic authorities are taking measures to prevent the spread of the disease. The risk of cholera for travelers to the Dominican Republic is likely very low if precautions are taken. Travelers should consume only safe food and water.

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EGYPT

Date Posted: 23/11/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

The situation in central Cairo remains tense following three days of sporadic violence in the downtown area between anti-government protesters and the security forces, which has left at least 33 people dead and over 1,000 more wounded. While the army has stated that persons have the right to gather in Tahrir Square, the recent violence has heightened anti-government sentiment considerably and further violence is possible in the next 24 hours. Clients should also note that anti-government protests have occurred elsewhere in the country recently and are likely to continue. Clients in or planning to travel to Egypt should be aware that a number of domestic and international airlines have cancelled flights to Cairo International Airport since 18 November due to the ongoing unrest. Further flight cancellations are possible. Due to the ongoing unrest clients are advised to avoid travel into Cairo's city centre. Clients in Cairo and elsewhere in the country are advised to exercise vigilance near government buildings, security force facilities, mosques and in public squares, areas that are considered protest hotspots. In addition, travel during the evening and street demonstrations should be avoided. Persons intending to travel to Egypt should also reconfirm all flights with their travel provider or relevant airline prior to departure.

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THAILAND

Date Posted: 26/10/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Bangkok's second airport has shut down as floodwaters advanced into the Thai capital, forcing authorities in "crisis mode" to declare a five-day public holiday in preparation for the deluge. The cabinet ordered an October 27-31 holiday for Bangkok and 20 other provinces affected by the kingdom's worst flooding in decades, amid warnings a high tide would surge up the capital's main river and escalate the disaster. "The government has switched to a crisis mode as a massive run-off will arrive in the capital on October 26, coinciding with a high tide on October 28" the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC) said. In a televised address to the kingdom overnight, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra gave a stark prediction of the potential impact of the flooding, saying the water was "at full force, which is more than the barriers can hold". She said it was "highly likely" that all of Bangkok, including the inner zone, would flood, with a "worst case scenario" seeing water levels of up to 1.5 metres in some parts.

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INDONESIA

Date Posted: 13/10/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

A large undersea earthquake has struck south of Bali, sending residents and tourists running onto the streets. The earthquake measuring magnitude 6.3 occured at 11.16am, according to the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre. At least 50 people were hurt, many with cuts, broken bones and head wounds, Wayan Sudanti, a hospital spokesman, told the Jakarta Globe. Three were in critical condition.

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CHINA

Date Posted: 4/10/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Cases of polio have been reported in China, the country’s first reported cases in over 10 years. All cases were reported in Hotan prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. As a result of this outbreak, travellers to all parts of China are advised to be up-to-date on the polio vaccine. Polio is spread by ingesting items contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Poliovirus can also be spread through oral fluids, water, and uncooked food. The disease mainly affects children less than 5 years old, but unvaccinated people of any age are at risk. Signs and symptoms of severe illness may include paralysis of limbs and respiratory muscles; however, most infected people have no symptoms. Travelers should take the following steps to protect themselves from polio:

Get vaccinated for polio

•Visit your GP before travelling doctor to find out if your polio vaccination is up to date of if you need a booster dose before traveling.

•Even if you were vaccinated as a child or have been sick with polio before, a booster shot may be recommended. If you are travelling with children, they should also be vaccinated.

Follow safe food and water practices

•Eat foods that are cooked thoroughly and served hot

•Only eat and drink dairy products that have been pasteurised

•Only consume fruits and vegetables that you can wash with safe water and peel yourself

•Only consume bottled or boiled water or beverages that have been bottled and sealed (carbonated drinks or sports drinks). Avoid tap water and ice.

Practice good hand hygiene

•Wash hands often with soap and water. In the event that soap and water are not available, you should carry an alcohol-based hand gel and use it regularly

•Wash hands thoroughly especially before eating, drinking or preparing food and after using the bathroom, changing babies, coughing or sneezing.

Source, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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AUSTRALIA (2)

Date Posted: 28/09/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has announced that 3,800 baggage handlers, ground staff and other Qantas employees will go on strike for one hour on Friday 30 September. This will potentially cause disruptions to domestic and international Qantas travel due to delays. The strike is expected to disrupt the travels plans of thousands of people including football fans travelling to Melbourne for the AFL Grand Final, rugby league fans travelling from New Zealand to Sydney for the NRL Grand Final and families travelling interstate for school holidays and the long weekend in some parts of Australia. Qantas Group Executive Olivia Wirth said the airline was assessing what impact this industrial action will have on flights and what contingency measures can be used to minimise impacts on passengers.

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AUSTRALIA (1)

Date Posted: 23/09/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Qantas has cancelled two flights today, and scheduled delays of up to an hour for six more, in response to the latest round of industrial action by aircraft maintenance engineers. A spokesman for the airline confirmed that eight flights at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth airports will be affected, impacting some 1,300 passengers. Qantas apologised to customers in a statement, saying that "All passengers on cancelled services have been accommodated on later services and the plans we have put in place will ensure that passengers can get to their destinations with minimal delays."

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AUSTRALIA

Date Posted: 15/09/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

The Transport Workers Union has advised Qantas that up to 3800 of its members working at the carrier will go on strike for four hours from 5am next Tue 20 Sep, as well as imposing work bans which could affect flights for up to two days. QF Group Executive Olivia Wirth said the carrier was currently assessing the impact of the walkout on both domestic and international flights, with staff involved working as baggage handlers, ground staff, catering, freight and in other transport roles. "Our priority is the Australian travelling public and we are currently developing contingency plans to minimise disruptions to our customers as a result of the union's action," she said. Wirth claimed the union was intentionally disrupting the travel plans of Australians, "effectively holding passengers to ransom as it seeks pay rises and attempting to place restrictions on Qantas". She said the coordinated campaign would see pilots, engineers and the TWU all taking some form of industrial action over this period. The TWU members are already the highest paid in the Australian aviation industry - and the walkout follows a new deal signed by the union with Virgin Australia which is 12% lower than Qantas rates. "The union is giving Virgin a competitive advantage over Qantas by agreeing to Virgin paying its staff significantly less than Qantas, and not imposing site rates," Wirth said.

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NEW ZEALAND (1)

Date Posted: 15/08/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

The polar blast which today brought parts of Otago, New Zealand, to a virtual standstill has loosened its grip this afternoon with melting snow allowing roads to reopen and planes to start flying again.

State Highway 1 between Dunedin and Palmerston has reopened after being impassable until early afternoon, and flights have resumed at Dunedin International Airport. Passengers remain grounded in Queenstown, however, where the runway at Queenstown Airport has been closed all day.

Forecasters have called the weather, which is affecting much of the country, a one in 50-year-event, and are warning more is on the way.

Schools throughout the region told children to stay at home for the day and numerous shops remain closed in downtown Dunedin, leaving central city streets virtually deserted.

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NEW ZEALAND

Date Posted: 25/07/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Heavy snow is resulting in severe air and road travel delays on the South Island, on 25 July. Flight delays and cancellations have been reported at Christchurch International Airport, Dunedin Airport as well as Queenstown Airport. Furthermore, a number of highways around Otago and Dunedin have been closed for traffic, including sections of the SH1 Highway in the vicinity of the Waitaki bridge, State Highway 87, the H8 Highway and State Highway 93.

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INDIA

Date Posted: 14/07/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Suspected terrorists have attacked Mumbai with a series of bomb blasts in multiple locations on Wednesday, 13 July. Reports claim that two explosions took place in South Mumbai at Opera House and in Zaveri Bazaar, and another occurred at Dadar West in the central part of the city. The Union Home Ministry has confirmed that the incidents are terrorist-connected and have placed the city on high alert. One of the explosions is believed to have been from a vehicle-borne explosive device, which was situated near a bus stop in Dadar West, while the other device was planted behind some advertising boards on a street filled with food stalls and restaurants in Zaveri Bazaar. The bazaar is near the frequently visited Mumbadevi temple.

Preliminary reports have been conflicting with regards to the number of casualties, but all three incidents reportedly occurred in crowded places. So far at least 30 people may have been killed.

The risk rating for India is currently MODERATE. As these are recently occurring events, the situation is still unfolding and information is extremely limited at present. Mumbai has been targeted on numerous occasions by terrorist groups, with the most recent taking place in November 2008. The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) launched a 60-hour complex attack at multiple locations that led to more than 160 fatalities. The siege has been described as India's "9/11" and ushered in sweeping changes to the government's counter-terrorism efforts. These changes have been largely instrumental in thwarting major terrorist attacks since then by Pakistan terrorist groups, with some exceptions. But the latest attacks, despite the government's best efforts, demonstrate the ability of terrorist groups to exploit vulnerabilities with devastating effect.

The next 24-48 hours will be a crucial period for the government to assess and evaluate the situation and to identify any possible perpetrators. For the time being, the threat of further attacks remains extremely high. Travellers are advised to stay in safe and secure facilities and maintain communications with security or crisis management teams to ensure well-being. Travel should be deferred until the government has the situation under control. If travel is necessary, it should be limited to mission critical status and under stringent journey risk management protocols.

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AUSTRALIA - 21/06/2011

Date Posted: 21/06/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Flights have again been disrupted as a volcanic ash cloud from a Chilean volcano drifts across Australian airspace. All domestic Qantas flights to and from Sydney from 3pm, to and from Canberra from 12pm and to and from Adelaide for the rest of today have been suspended, while Tiger Airways has grounded its entire fleet in Australia until at least 2pm. Jetstar has cancelled its Adelaide flights, and Virgin Australia has suspended all flights to Adelaide and Mildura, and cancelled all flights to and from Canberra from 1pm. Melbourne flights may also be affected at some point today. "We simply don't have enough information and it will be safety before schedule," Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth told Sky News this morning. "We don't know the density [of the cloud]. ... The Qantas group will not be flying under or around the particular cloud." Qantas said it was reviewing its international flights to and from Sydney. Customers are advised not travel to the airport if their flight has been cancelled.

In Queensland, Virgin and Tiger said flights to and from the Gold Coast were being affected by the cloud, and Brisbane Airport warned flights to and from the capital were likely to be cancelled or delayed. Passengers were urged to stay in touch with their airlines.

Airservices Australia said "significant nationwide flow-on delays" were expected. It added that flights from Perth heading towards south-eastern Australia would be affected and advised passengers to contact their airlines directly.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin said the cloud will cross the South Australian coast this morning and then the southern NSW coast late today. Yesterday afternoon the plume was 2000 kilometres south-west of Western Australia but was moving rapidly at 80 to 100 knots. It was predicted to run into a strong low-pressure system in the Great Australian Bight, which would drag it northwards, the ash advisory centre's director, Andrew Tupper, said. Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano began erupting on June 4, shooting a plume of ash into the air which made its way across the Atlantic and Indian oceans before reaching Australian and New Zealand airspace. The air cloud has travelled around Earth one-and-a-half times and is "particularly persistent in the atmosphere", Airservices Australia said.

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AUSTRALIA - 13/06/2011

Date Posted: 13/06/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

Thousands of passengers face flight delays and cancellations again today as ash clouds from the Puyehue volcano in Chile move slowly across Australia and airlines struggle to bring their schedules back on track. Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin all resumed their hectic Sydney-to-Melbourne services yesterday. But all Qantas and Jetstar flights to and from Tasmania, New Zealand and some international services from Sydney were cancelled and are likely to remain so for at least part of the day. Qantas and Jetstar were due to hold meetings last night to decide which flights would be cancelled today, with both airlines taking a conservative approach to flying around the ash. Virgin, on the other hand, has elected to fly beneath it.The ash clouds over Australia are gradually dissipating, but Dr Andrew Tupper from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin said the process was taking longer than hoped.

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EUROPE

Date Posted: 24/05/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

The eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland led to the temporarily closure of Iceland's Keflavik International Airport on 22 May. A no-fly zone was implemented 220km around the eruption site on 21 May, and extended countrywide on 22 May. The airport is expected to re-open in the late afternoon on 23 May. According to the latest information, there is a possibility that the ash cloud could affect parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland within the next 24 hours and cause disruptions to air traffic in these regions. However, if current weather patterns prevail, the ash cloud is expected to move away from Europe. In addition, experts have indicated that the eruption has produced large ash grains, which are unlikely to remain in the atmosphere for a long enough period to threaten aircraft by clogging up their engines. As such, the impact of the eruptions depends on future meteorological conditions and the possible continued eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano, which may produce new ash clouds. While clients should note that there is a potential for associated flight disruptions, a similar disruption to Europe's air traffic and partial closure of airspace, as experienced in April 2010, is not expected, in part due to the establishment of the European Aviation Crisis Coordination Cell, which is tasked with coordinating a response to mitigate any potential impact on air traffic. Clients are advised to monitor developments, and possibly contact their airline or travel provider for related updates.

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UNITED KINGDOM

Date Posted: 18/05/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

US President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the United Kingdom and Ireland from 23 to 26 May. He will begin his tour in Dublin and County Offaly, Ireland on 23 May before travelling to London where he is expected to stay from 24 to 26 May. The full details of his trip have not been disclosed; however, Obama is expected to stay at Buckingham Palace for the duration of the London leg of his visit. Security is set to be increased significantly before, during and shortly after the president's visit to Dublin, County Offaly and London, due to fears that anti-US elements may use the visit to stage demonstrations and possibly instigate terror attacks. As such, clients in the affected areas should anticipate increased security, particularly near sensitive sites such as public transport, government and security installations, as well as sites associated with US interests. Travel disruptions in parts of London, due to closed roads and security checkpoints, should also be anticipated for the duration of the visit.

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THAILAND - 01/04/2011

Date Posted: 1/04/2011 12:00:00 AM
Posted By: Robert

More than 200 Australian travellers have been stranded in southern Thailand as mudslides and floodwaters claimed more than a dozen lives in eight provinces. Australians were among tourists isolated on the resort island of Koh Samui, where flooding closed the airport and heavy seas halted ferries. Thai media reported that a massive mudslide on Wednesday in the mainland province of Krabi left up to 15 people dead, while the Royal Thai Navy led the rescue of tourists (left) from the flood-ravaged island of Koh Tao in nearby Surat Thani province. Further landslides and possible flooding are expected in the tourist destinations of Phuket, Krabi, Phang-nga and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

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