World News & Updates
The health, safety and wellbeing of our program participants are our top priorities! We have a comprehensive Risk Management & Emergency Response Plan which is put into place in the event of emergency situations.
Here you will find regular updates of world events (natural disasters, political situations, disease outbreaks, etc.) that could affect programs, locations and participants that are, or will be, on-site.
Volcanic eruption on White Island, New Zealand
9 December 2019
A volcano erupted on White Island in the Bay of Plenty on Monday, 9 December. Five people have been confirmed dead, 8 are missing and 31 are in hospital. There were 47 people in total on the island, 38 of them from the cruise ship Ovation of the Seas. Police have said there are no further signs of life on the island following flyovers late on Monday. Many of the victims are tourists from Australia, the UK, China, Malaysia and the US. CIS has confirmed all students currently on a program in New Zealand are safe and were not near White Island during the time of eruption.
Visit Smartraveller for the latest recommendations and updates on safety advice levels. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and those affected.
Knife attack near London Bridge
29 November 2019
A knife attack near London Bridge on the afternoon of 29 November killed two people and left several others injured. The attacker was shot dead by police and there appears to be no ongoing threat to the public. Police have declared the incident a terrorist act. Nearby areas were evacuated and the immediate vicinity was locked down at the time of the event. The bridge and Tube stations have been reopened. Precautionary security-related movement restrictions will remain in place through the weekend, including traffic disruptions and closures in the vicinity as authorities continue their investigation into the attack. All CIS students have been reported safe.
Smartraveller has not changed their level of advice: Exercise normal safety precautions in the United Kingdom. Our hearts go out to the victims and those affected by this tragic event.
Wildfires have been burning in California with over 6,400 fires recorded as of 3 November 2019. Extreme weather conditions, including hurricane-force gusts, have sparked fires and forced thousands of people from their homes. Mandatory evacuations have been taken place across the state, including in Los Angeles. Recent wildfires are now mostly under control, but fire risk remains high. All upcoming programs to the US are still planned to run as scheduled. Please visit Smartraveller USA for the latest updates on safety advice levels.
Ongoing demonstrations in Barcelona and the Catalan region
Friday, 18 October 2019
On Monday, 14 October 2019, Catalan separatist leaders who played a role in the 2017 independence referendum were found guilty and given lengthy prison sentences by courts in Madrid. This has resulted in several demonstrations and protests taking place in Barcelona and other major cities in Catalonia. While most of the protests and protesters are overwhelming peaceful, there have been rising tensions and sporadic injuries to protestors, police and bystanders. The government of Catalonia announced there will be a “general strike” on Friday 18 October 2019. The strike will impact public transportation, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and schools. Protesters are blocking roads and train tracks as a tactic to get international media attention and coverage regarding what is happening in Catalunya.
We are monitoring the situation closely with staff on-site. Our number 1 priority is to keep our students safe. Currently there are no changes to any planned programs in Spain. Advice from the Australian Government’s Smartraveller remains the same: Exercise normal safety precautions.
Typhoon Hagibis in Japan
Saturday, 12 October 2019
On Saturday, 12 October 2019, Typhoon Hagibis hit the the Izu Peninsula in Japan, about 100km southwest of Tokyo, causing widespread flooding, mudslides, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes equal to a powerful Category 2 storm. The typhoon brought record rainfall, unleashing nearly one metre of rain in just 24 hours in some locations. In addition to the 80 confirmed dead, at least 10 are missing and thousands are still living in evacuation shelters. We are monitoring the situation closely. Currently there are no changes to any planned programs in Japan. Advice from the Australian Government’s Smartraveller remains the same: Exercise normal safety precautions.
Anti-government protests in Hong Kong
In April 2019, the Hong Kong government introduced the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances. This has led to the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (or Anti-ELAB) movement, an ongoing series of protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong which began with the aim to oppose the bill. Opponents say the bill would risk exposing Hong Kongers to unfair trials and violent treatment, as well as giving China greater influence over HK and could be used to target activists and journalists. The bill was withdrawn in September after months of protest and hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets. Demonstrations continue and have developed to include demands for full democracy and an inquiry into police actions. While the majority of these protests have been peaceful, clashes between police and activists have become increasingly violent. Protests supporting the HK movement have spread across the globe, with rallies taking place in the UK, France, US, Canada and Australia.
We are monitoring the situation closely and our number 1 priority is to keep our students safe. The advice level from the Australian Government’s Smartraveller is to exercise a high degree of caution.
Multiple bomb blasts in Bangkok, Thailand
Friday, 2 August 2019
On Friday, 2 August 2019, there were at least six explosions in Bangkok. A few people were injured but luckily no one was killed. The explosions coincided with a major international summit happening in Bangkok, as the city was hosting a regional security meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with representatives from the United States, China and Russia. There were no CISaustralia participants in Thailand at the time of the bombings. Advice from the Australian Government’s Smartraveller remains the same: Exercise a high degree of caution.
Arson Attack in Kyoto, Japan
Thursday, 18 July 2019
On Thursday, 18 July 2019, a man set fire to an animation studio in Kyoto. At least 33 people died and dozens were injured. That attack was carried out at the famous Anime Studio, Kyoto Animation Co. Our on-site team in Japan has confirmed that none of the students on the CIS program were in Kyoto at the time of the attack. Advice from the Australian Government’s Smartraveller remains the same: Exercise normal safety precautions. Our hearts go out to all the victims and those affected by this tragic event.
Parcel Bombing in Lyon, France
Friday, 24 May 2019
On Friday afternoon, 24 May 2019, a suspected parcel bomb exploded in the center of the eastern French city of Lyon, injuring at least 13. No fatalities have been reported. The explosion struck near the corner of two crowded pedestrian streets in the historic city centre. There were no CISaustralia participants in France at the time of the incident. Our hearts go out to all those affected in Lyon. Please visit Smartraveller France for the latest updates on safety advice levels.
Tram Shooting in Utrecht, Netherlands
Monday, 18 March 2019
On Monday morning, 18 March 2019, a gunman opened fire inside a tram in Utrecht, Netherlands. There were no CISaustralia participants in the Netherlands at the time of the shooting. The current advice level for the Netherlands overall has not changed – Exercise normal safety precautions. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Please visit Smartraveller Netherlands for the latest updates on safety advice levels.
Mosque Shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand
Friday, 15 March 2019
On Friday afternoon, 15 March 2019, two consecutive terrorist attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand took place during Friday Prayer. There were no CISaustralia participants in New Zealand at the time of the shootings. The current advice level for New Zealand overall has not changed – Exercise normal safety precautions. Our thoughts are with the victims of these attacks and their families. Please visit Smartraveller New Zealand for the latest updates on safety advice levels.
Earthquake in Osaka, Japan
Monday, 18 June 2018
On Monday morning, 18 June 2018, the city of Osaka experienced an earthquake. In conjunction with our Japanese Site Director, we are closely monitoring the situation. Osaka is approximately 500km and a 6-hour drive from Tokyo where our study programs are based. There have been no reports of Tokyo being affected by the earthquake. Advice from the Australian Government’s Smartraveller remains the same: Exercise normal safety precautions. The July in Tokyo, Japan: 2018 program is scheduled to commence as planned.
Incident in New York City, USA
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
A suspected attack involving a truck caused multiple injuries and deaths on Tuesday afternoon, 31 October 2017 in New York City. There were no CISaustralia participants in the US at the time of the crash. The current advice level for USA overall has not changed – Exercise normal safety precautions. CISaustralia is in communications with staff at our US offices and local institutional partners to ensure ongoing updates. Our thoughts are with the victims of this accident and their families. CISaustralia will continue to provide further updates as advice on the situation as appropriate.
All upcoming programs to the US are still planned to run as scheduled. Please visit Smartraveller USA for the latest updates on safety advice levels.
Bus Crash in Nepal
Saturday, 28 October 2017
A passenger bus heading toward Kathmandu lost control and veered off a key mountain highway on the morning of Saturday, 28 October 2017. There were no CISaustralia participants in Nepal at the time of the crash. The current advice level for Nepal overall has not changed – exercise a high degree of caution. CISaustralia is in communications with our local partners and on-site staff (Site Directors) based in Nepal to ensure ongoing updates. Our thoughts are with the victims of this accident and their families. CISaustralia will continue to provide further updates as advice on the situation as appropriate.
All upcoming programs to Nepal are still planned to run as scheduled. Please visit Smartraveller Nepal for the latest updates on safety advice levels.
Incident in South Kensington, London, England
Sunday, 8 October 2017
A vehicular collision that injured 11 people occurred outside the Natural History Museum in London on Sunday, 8 October 2017. Police have said it was not terror-related. CISaustralia had four interns in London at the time of the crash, all of which were promptly reported safe by our onsite team. The four interns were with our CISaustralia England Site Director, Anna, on an excursion to Brighton at the time of the accident.
Please visit Smartraveller UK for the latest updates on safety advice levels.
Incident in South-West London, England
Friday, 15 September 2017
Following a terrorist attack on a Tube train in south-west London on 15 September 2017, which resulted in a number of injuries, the UK Government increased the UK’s domestic threat level to ‘Critical’ (the highest of the UK’s five domestic threat levels). UK Prime Minister May has also announced that armed soldiers will be deployed in UK cities to assist police with security. Expect an increased police and security presence across the UK. Be alert of your personal security, monitor the media and follow local authorities’ instructions. Please visit Smartraveller UK for the latest information.
Update: On 17 September 2017, the UK Government lowered its domestic threat level to “Severe” (level 4 of 5). The level of advice for the UK has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in the United Kingdom. CIS had no students in the UK at the time of the attack and is in communication with our Site Directors based in London to ensure ongoing updates.
Incident in Barcelona, Spain
Thursday, 17 August 2017
A number of people were killed and injured in a terrorist attack in a tourist area in Las Ramblas in Barcelona. If you are in the affected area, follow the instructions of local authorities. Australians who have concerns for the welfare of family and friends in the region should attempt to contact them directly. If you are unable to contact them and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1 300 555 135, or +61 2 6261 3305 (if calling from overseas). The level of our advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in Spain. Please visit Smartraveller Spain for the latest information.
CISaustralia had no students in Spain at the time of this event.
Earthquake in Sichuan Province, China
Wednesday, 9 August 2017
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Jiuzhaigou County in northern Sichuan Province during the evening of Tuesday 8 August 2017, causing significant structural damage. Jiuzhaigou Valley is a major tourist destination. Authorities advise the valley is closed to tourists until further notice. The level of advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in China. Higher levels apply in Tibet and Xinjiang. Please visit Smartraveller China for the latest information.
CISaustralia had no students in China at the time of this event.
Incident in North London, England
Monday, 19 June 2017
On 19 June 2017, a vehicle collided with pedestrians outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, North London, causing a number of injuries. Roads in the area have been closed and there is an increased presence of police in the area. Remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities (See Safety and Security). Police are still investigating the incident. The level of advice has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in the United Kingdom. Please visit Smartraveller UK for the latest information.
The incident took place in an area that is not generally frequented by our participants, and we are confident we had no participants in the area last night. Our onsite staff, as always, are working to ensure the general well-being of our participants, and reminding them of our emergency protocol and the importance of always being vigilant and carrying their phones, and emergency numbers with them at all times.
Incident in London, England
Sunday, 3 June 2017
We are closely monitoring the development of an attack that happened in London, England on Sunday, June 3rd. Police have confirmed a number of deaths and injuries. UK authorities have declared these events as terrorist attacks. Continue to avoid the area and follow local instructions (See Safety and security on Smartraveller). The level of advice for the UK has not changed. Exercise normal safety precautions in the United Kingdom. Current Advice Level for the UK: Exercise normal safety precautions.
No CISaustralia student was affected by the incident. We are in communication with our local University partners and on-site staff (Site Directors) based in London to ensure ongoing updates. Our thoughts are with the victims of this incident and their families. CISaustralia will continue to provide further updates as advice on the situation.
Incident in Manchester, England
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Following a terrorist attack in Manchester on 22 May 2017, which resulted in a number of deaths and injuries, the UK Government has increased the UK’s domestic threat level to ‘Critical’ (the highest of the UK’s four domestic threat levels). UK Prime Minister May has also announced that armed soldiers will be deployed in UK cities to assist police with security. Continue to avoid the area surrounding the Manchester Arena and anticipate significant transport delays in the Manchester area. Expect an increased police and security presence across the UK. Be vigilant with your personal security, monitor the media and follow local authorities’ instructions (Safety and security). In light of the UK’s increase in its threat level, we now advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the United Kingdom.
For the latest updates and information please refer to Smartraveller UK.
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
We are closely monitoring the development of a suspected terrorist attack that happened in Manchester, England this evening at approximately 10:35 pm local time. Police have confirmed 19 fatalities and several injured at the Manchester Arena, where one of more explosions occurred at the conclusion of a concert by the singer Ariana Grande.
CISaustralia have no programs in Manchester, and no students currently in the UK. CIS are in communications with our Site Directors based in London to ensure ongoing updates. Our thoughts are with the victims of this incident and their families.
For the latest updates and information please refer to Smartraveller UK.
Incident at Westminster, London
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
At approximately 2:40pm on 22 March, a mass terrorist attack occurred on Westminster Bridge in London. At the time of the attack, CISaustralia had one student intern placed in London. The CISaustralia Risk Management & Emergency Response Plan was put into place, with CISaustralia staff members reaching out to the student intern currently in the London to confirm their whereabouts and safety. The student is safe and has enjoyed her program and travels thus far. Key staff at Australian universities were also contacted to keep them abreast of the situation.
Incident at Fort Lauderdale Airport, Florida
Friday, 6 January 2017
At approximately 12:55pm on 6 January, a mass shooting occurred at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Broward County, Florida, USA. At the time of the incident, CISaustralia had eleven students in the US who had arrived in preparation of a program beginning the upcoming weekend. No students were in Florida at the time of the incident.
The CISaustralia Risk Management & Emergency Response Plan was put into place, with CISaustralia staff members reaching out to students currently in the US to confirm their whereabouts and safety. All students were safe and enjoying their travels leading up to the start of their program. Key staff at Australian universities were also contacted to keep them abreast of the situation.
Monsoon Rain in Thailand
Early December 2016
In early December 2016, a number of provinces in the south of Thailand, including popular tourist areas Koh Samui, Koh Phangnan and Koh Tao, were affected by localised flooding. Our partners in Koh Tao have reported that they have had heavy rain but no serious flooding and no damage. All CISaustralia programs in Koh Tao will continue to run as scheduled.
Earthquake in Italy
Sunday, 30 October 2016
There was a very strong Earthquake (between 6.5 and 7.1) this morning at 7:40 am local time in the provinces of Perugia, Ascoli Piceno and Macerata. Many buildings collapsed in the following towns: Norcia, Preci, Visso, Arquata, Castel S. Angelo. The Earthquake was felt all over Italy, including Rome and Florence. The metro has been closed in Rome and many trains/buses have been cancelled all over Central Italy. There are currently no CISaustralia students in Italy and all upcoming programs will run as scheduled. Our thoughts are with the people of the affected areas at this time.
Our partners in Italy have reported that Florence has not been affected, nor has most of the rail, air and road transportation networks towards major cities. The earthquakes are mostly concentrated in the Umbria and Marche regions, while Tuscany (around Florence) has been untouched by any big seismic events since the last one in 1895. All CISaustralia programs in Italy will continue to run as scheduled.
The Passing of His Majesty, the King of Thailand
Thursday, 13 October 2016
The Thai Government has announced the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. An official one year mourning period has been announced. This is a time of deep sorrow for Thai people. Our participants have been informed of the great importance of respecting the feelings and sensitivities of the Thai people at this time; and that they should behave respectfully when in public areas – if possible, wearing sombre and respectful clothing when in public and follow the advice of the local authorities. We are monitoring the situation closely via our Site Director David Jackson and his team of local staff in Chiang Mai and Bangkok. We also have very good communications with our two University partners in Thailand and NGO partners. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Thailand. For more information please refer to Smartraveller or feel free to contact us with any questions.
Volcán Turrialba Eruptions in Costa Rica
Monday, 19 September 2016
This morning there were a series of eruptions of Volcán Turrialba, 50 kilometres east of San Jose, Costa Rica, which resulted in the closing of airports and ash falling in the city of San Jose, the location of three CISaustralia programs. CISaustralia has no participants currently in Costa Rica. According to our Site Director in Costa Rica (Lisa), participants are in no danger. We are closely monitoring the situation. The events are not predicted to affect any future programming in Costa Rica. We will update this page as new information becomes available.
Attack Reported in Davao City, Philippines
Friday, 2 September 2016
A terrorist attack was reported to have occurred in Davao City, Philippines on 2 September. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. CISaustralia does not currently have any students participating in programs in the Philippines. CISaustralia on-site staff and program partners have been reported safe. Davao City is over 13 hours / 650km from the location of the CISaustralia volunteer program in Tacloban City. In regards to safety, the situation for upcoming volunteers hasn’t changed, we continue to advise volunteers not go out alone after dark or walk around downtown or dark streets in the late evening. Volunteers are also strongly advised to avoid travelling to eastern Mindanao, including Davao City, and to exercise a high degree of caution. For more information please refer to Smartraveller.
Earthquake in Central Italy
Wednesday, 24 August 2016
A 6.2 earthquake has struck the central region of Italy. Thankfully CISaustralia has no students on-site in Italy at the moment, and our on-site staff and partners, including our partner in Florence, have reported that all staff / students are safe and buildings are undamaged. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. For more information refer to Smartraveller.
Attack Reported in Hua Hin, Thailand
Thursday, 11 August 2016
A number of small bombs were detonated in multiple locations throughout Thailand on 11-12 August. CISaustralia received information regarding the initial incident in Hua Hin, northern Thailand on Thursday 11 August. At the time of the incident CISaustralia had one student participating in a marine conservation program on a remote and isolated island off the mainland. The island is over 500km / 9-10hrs from Hua Hin. Our program partners in Thailand were immediately contacted and confirmed the student’s safety. The local people who live on the island always keep an eye on the coming and going of visitors and the island was not directly affected by any of the violence on the mainland. Key emergency staff at the student’s home university in Australia were contacted and advised of the incident. The student’s nominated emergency contacts were also contacted.
Bastille Day Attack in Nice, France
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Bastille Day celebrations were marred by a terrorist attack in Nice, France on Thursday 14 July. At the time of the incident CISaustralia had three students participating in a short-term study program in Aix-en Provence. Nice is over 3-hours / 200km away from Aix-en Provence and there was no immediate threat to students. The CISaustralia Risk Management & Emergency Response Plan was put in to place and the Dean of IAU College was contacted in the early hours of the morning – 2am local time. Key emergency staff at the college contacted all CISaustralia students and confirmed their safety. All students were in Aix-en Provence at the time of the incident, safe at home with their homestay families. Key emergency staff at the student’s home university here in Australia were contacted, as were the students’ nominated emergency contacts.
Incident at University of Los Angeles (UCLA), California
Thursday, 2 June 2016
Around 10am on Wednesday morning (LA time), police responded to calls of shots fired at the UCLA campus, prompting a campus-wide lockdown. The LA Police department and UCLA police department undertook a ‘monumental task’ locking down a large university. It is never easy to hear of tragic events and lost lives. Our thoughts are with our on-site team, our close partners at UCLA and to all the families, friends and colleagues of those who have been affected.
Our Director, Brad Dorahy, has this morning spoken with both UCLA staff and our LA-based Site Director Anette, who has been closely monitoring the situation. Our UCLA program this July will be running as scheduled and as always we retrain a strong focus on risk management and will be addressing the incident with all students attending the program, with personal calls within the next 24 hours, an email update and a planned pre-departure webinar that will take place this Friday (Australia time) with enrolled students, our Australian based staff and our UCLA Site Director. Brad Dorahy, Founder and Executive Director of CISaustralia, is currently in the USA and will be visiting the UCLA campus next week, debriefing with our on-site partners and will communicate any relevant updates.