Our Risk Management Team uses this section for periodic updates of world events – natural disasters, political situations, disease outbreaks – that are currently affecting or could affect our programming locations and the participants that are or will be on site.
CIS Abroad is closely monitoring the fire situation in Australia. We are communicating frequently with Australian University partners and with our staff on-site. The fires have been devastating, and our hearts go out to all who have been affected. Every Spring Semester program is still proceeding as scheduled, as no university is reporting any disruption due to the fires. We were happy to hear the recent reports that the air quality in Sydney has improved since December, and we hope that this continues in the coming days.
Australia has been suffering from some devastating brushfires recently. CIS Abroad is closely monitoring the situation with our Australian University Partners and will be sharing information as soon as we receive it. To learn more about the situation, please click here.
As of now, none of our partners have canceled or postponed their programs. All CIS Abroad Spring Semester 2020 programs are currently scheduled to begin on time. We are in regular contact with our on-site staff to ensure that we are as informed as possible and will provide updates if anything changes.
In the early morning hours of December 9, 2019 an an earthquake and several after shocks hit the northern part of Tuscany, Italy. The shocks could be felt in our program location in Florence, Italy. Luckily, there are no known fatalities and the few casualties that have been reported are minor. There was some structural damage reported in several areas. No one in the CIS Abroad program community has been significantly impacted by the quakes. Our on-site staff have reached out to all students to check on their well being and to remind them of our earthquake protocol.
There was an incident this morning near the London Bridge at 2 pm local time (9 am EST). It appears an assailant stabbed 5 people before being shot by police. We have confirmed that all CIS Abroad students are safe.
Currently the New South Wales and Queensland areas of Australia are experiencing bushfires (wildfires) that have approached but not impacted CIS Abroad program sites in Sydney and Newcastle. On site staff are monitoring the situation as some areas have already been asked to evacuate. However, students on site at the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, and Newcastle University, are all safe and it is not likely at this time that they will need to evacuate their premises. While CIS Abroad staff continue to watch the situation, our hearts are with those who have been displaced by the blazes. Updates will be forthcoming should the situation necessitate further action.
Protests have continued peacefully in Barcelona. There are scheduled protests for this upcoming weekend, but they are smaller than last week. All CIS Abroad participants have been reported safe and are reminded regularly to avoid areas of demonstration.
Protests continued today in what was scheduled as the biggest day for the Barcelona protests this week. In addition to a general strike, people from all over Cataluña gathered in the city in response to the recent prison sentences of Catalan leaders that led the independence referendum in 2017. Our staff in Barcelona have continued to remind participants to avoid demonstrations and keep a low profile. Participants are aware of the availability of our staff via phone 24 hours a day. We are continuing to monitor the situation and update our participants daily.
Protests in Barcelona are scheduled to continue through Friday, the day of the general strike. Peaceful marches from 6 major Catalan cities have begun today towards Barcelona with expected arrival on Friday; these may affect traffic on highways outside the city. Transportation within Barcelona is expected to experience major delays, and some flights will be canceled. Students are being advised to avoid demonstration areas and to plan extra time if travel is necessary.
Today in Barcelona there have been protests and marches after the Spanish government issued prison sentences to the separatists from the 2017 independence movement. Our onsite team has reached out to students to offer support and guidance on avoiding all protests and we will continue to monitor the situation and send updates as needed.
As of October 12 at 3:00 PM, the government of Ecuador has set a curfew for all residents of Quito. All CIS Abroad participants are safe. CIS Abroad onsite staff have spoken both with our local homestay families and with the students to make sure they will not leave their houses until the situation changes and the curfew is lifted.