This section is 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 onsite.
At this time it has been confirmed that all our London based program participants are safe. We are continuing to monitor the situation carefully, and will update this page as necessary.
Again our thoughts go out to all those affected by these events today.
We are aware of an incident that took place at a London Underground earlier this morning and are currently in communications with all onsite staff in the area to ensure the safety and general well-being of all of our London participants, as well as any other participants traveling in the area.
Our hearts go out to the victims of this attack and to all Londoners. We will update this page as more information becomes available.
All of us at CISAbroad offer our thoughts to our colleagues, the people of Barcelona and others affected by the terrible incident at Las Ramblas earlier today.
Although no onsite staff was hurt and there were no CISabroad participants on-site, terrorism anywhere is against all that we stand for and believe in as global educators. We are more prepared than ever to ensure the safety of our participants during their experiences abroad.
For more details on our risk management plan, please see our health and safety abroad resources page.
By now you may have seen the news about the van that hit a group of people on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Las Ramblas is a popular tourist spot in the center of the city.
This is breaking news so we don’t have any more information at this point except that the police have responded swiftly and are attending to any victims.
We currently have no students or interns on-site but are working closely with our onsite staff in Barcelona and following the news to see what other information comes out.
This page will be updated as more information becomes available.
Our thoughts are with the people affected by this incident but we are pleased to report that there were no CISabroad program participants or onsite staff involved in the Barcelona train incident this morning.
This morning a Renfe train that was coming from Sant Vicenç de Calders (Tarragona) was unable to fully stop as it was arriving at the Barcelona França railway station (in la Barceloneta neighborhood) and crashed against the platform. Local news have most recently reported that 54 people were hurt in the accident. More information about the incident can be found here.
We have no reason to believe that there were any participants nearby but our onsite staff is confirming the safety of all. We will update this page as new information becomes available.
A moderate earthquake struck in Fukushima yesterday at 9.11 am local time. There have been no reports of damage, nor tsunami. Our participants who are currently finishing up their program in Tokyo reported that they could feel the tremor in Tokyo, but everyone is safe and doing well. If you would like to read more about this incident, you can find information here.
A strong earthquake in the Aegan Sea shook the island of Kos and parts of Turkey this morning at 1:30 am local time. More information regarding this incident can be found here. Our site director in Greece has confirmed that none of our program participants were on Kos at the time of the incident, and that Athens was not impacted by the earthquake nor at risk for a tsunami. Our thoughts are with the people affected by the natural disaster.
We are aware of a vehicular incident that took place last night shortly after midnight, local time where a van struck a group of worshipers departing a mosque in North London. 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.
Our thoughts today are with the Muslim community who was the primary target of this senseless act of violence.
This page will be updated if any new information becomes available to us.
Dear CISabroad Community and Partners,
The senseless violence in London this weekend reminded us all that it takes grit (passion and perseverance) to do the work we do.
We remain fiercely committed to our vision of a world that is free of senseless violence, and instead connected and compassionate. We are a nimble organization that adapts and responds to events as they happen. No matter who you are or how you are connected to CISabroad, here are some key points to remember:
Risk Management & Mitigation Practices
- Our Emergency Response and Risk Management plan includes a full 24/7 response team at headquarters. Joe Debiec leads this team and is a member of the OSAC Academic Working Group, the organization that works with the U.S. Department of State on security issues.
- We collaborate with trained onsite staff and responsive overseas partner institutions to creatively alter travel plans and activities if called for.
- Thanks to our global network, we can delay or re-route programs at a moment’s notice.
- We confirm the safety of all program participants through a solid communications plan including participants, onsite staff, onsite partners, participants’ emergency contacts and home universities.
- All participants receive an in-depth on-site orientation upon arrival. This orientation provides tips for staying out of harm’s way; a detailed emergency plan, including important emergency phone numbers, meeting points; and other resources that aid participants in keeping themselves safe.
We encourage on-site staff to:
- Remind students to keep their phones on them, and to keep them charged.
- Create Whats App groups (or similar) for students so it’s possible to message the entire group when necessary.
- Encourage students to explore parts of their city that are off the beaten path. Students may want to travel to the most exciting places that draw the biggest crowds, but exploring off the beaten path can often be more rewarding.
- Make sure that students are talking with their parents regularly so that people back home know that they are fine. (Frequent communication with parents may also help to steer students away from more risky behavior).
We here at headquarters:
- Encourage students to always travel with a phone. If possible have a data plan with the phone to make communication as easy as possible.
Make sure that students and parents know how important it is to have the independent travel form filled out, so that safety can be verified as soon as possible.
- Highly encourage students to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) offered by the U.S Department of State (it’s FREE).
Run frequent parent webinars so that we have an opportunity to hear concerns and questions and to talk about the REAL risks of study abroad.
Some statistics to put the real risk of going abroad at the forefront of our planning this summer:
- 90% of CISabroad’s serious incidents involve alcohol consumption. Promoting healthy alcohol consumption and the buddy system is the #1 thing we can do to keep our students safe.
- The highest cause of U.S. student deaths abroad is car accidents. Encourage our students to buckle up in taxis, Ubers, and in vans. Thankfully, our FLP team ONLY uses registered transportation services.
- We are 35,079 times more likely to die of a heart attack than a terrorist attack. So, keep your stress low, eat healthy, and keep up the good work.
All best, and in solidarity,
Kris, Joe, Scott, Candace, Jess, Brian and Eva
Your Risk Management Team (more…)