Saturday, June 14, 2014

South Sudan: US Department of State Issues Updated Travel Warning

The US Department of State warns US citizens against all travel to the Republic of South Sudan.   

After review of our security conditions, the US Department of State lifted the ordered departure status for the US Embassy in Juba on June 12, 2014.  Yet, as a result of continued instability and a poor security situation resulting from the civil conflict which erupted in the country in December 2013, the US Embassy will continue operating at reduced staffing levels for the foreseeable future.  The US Embassy is therefore only able to offer very limited emergency services to US citizens in the Republic of South Sudan.

The US Embassy in Nairobi [Tel.: +(254) (20) 363-6451 or +(254) (20) 363-6170, e-mail: Kenya_acs@state.gov] is available to assist US citizens in South Sudan who need assistance; in an emergency, contact the US Embassy in Juba (Daytime: +(211) 912-105-188; After Hours: +(211) 912-105-107).

The South Sudanese government is currently engaged in an armed conflict with a rebel group led by the former vice president Riek Machar.  The conflict began with an outbreak of violence in Juba in December 2013, and several states continue to experience active fighting.  Instability persists across the country.  Please note that the US Embassy can provide only limited consular assistance to detainees in Juba, and consular assistance to detainees outside the capital may well be limited to over-the-phone contact.  The US Embassy is rarely informed in a timely manner of the arrest of US citizens.

Health care in South Sudan is extremely limited and poor.  US citizens with medical conditions should not travel to South Sudan and all travelers should ensure their travel to the country is covered by overseas medical insurance, including medical evacuation.  Medical evacuation from South Sudan is very expensive, often costing tens of thousands of dollars or more.

The Government of South Sudan has limited capacity to deter crime or provide security to travelers anywhere in the country. 

In addition to instability related to the current civil conflict, the risk of violent crime is high in Juba.  

The US Embassy in Juba has imposed a curfew from 2100 hours to 0600 hours daily in an effort to ensure the safety of its personnel.  

In addition to the curfew, the Embassy has implemented other measures to protect US government personnel living and working in South Sudan.  These include requiring personnel to travel in armored government vehicles at all times and to obtain advance permission for any travel outside of Juba.  Due to security concerns, spouses and family members of US government personnel are not permitted to reside in South Sudan.

If you are currently working on humanitarian relief or development efforts in Juba, or anywhere in South Sudan, you should take measures to reduce your exposure to violent crime and should closely follow the security policies and procedures of your organization.

There are likely to be disruptions or long delays in services provided by the Government of South Sudan, including health care and sanitation.

Persons inquiring about the status of US citizens, should email: 

SouthSudanEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

The Department of State urges those US citizens who decide to travel to or remain in South Sudan despite this Travel Warning to provide their current contact information and next-of-kin information through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

For information on "What the US Department of State Can and Can't Do in a Crisis," please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs Emergencies and Crises page. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 0800 hours to 2000 hours EST, Monday through Friday (except US federal holidays).

For further information, US citizens should consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for South Sudan.  Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Worldwide CautionTravel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.