Indonesia. Is it really as dangerous as some governments make out?
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According to the Australian Governmentâ€™s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, it seems that anyone considering travel to Indonesia should immediately change their plans. For those already in this dangerous country, it might be best to take the next flight out. This is because travelers heading to Indonesia could encounter earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides, volcanoes, terrorist attacks, general crime, communal violence, shoddy local airlines, civil unrest, as well as both swine and bird flu. Not to mention the outbreak of rabies infected monkeys on
While most foreign governments issue similarly strong warnings,
Take the risk of earthquakes, for example. On September 30, 2009 all hell broke loose in the West Sumatran
While such advice is sensible, it does little to help understand or manage the risks.
For a first-hand assessment of on-the-ground conditions, I called a foreign correspondent who covered the aftermath of the
It might be best to observe such advice. Earthquakes are a fact of life because
While the number and frequency of quakes is a serious concern, it should simply persuade travellers to take a more proactive approach to managing their risks. Among the volumes of warnings that foreign governments issue, comes some practical advice. The Americans, in reference to the
Whatâ€™s happening where you are?
One way to proactively manage such risks is to use the new travel information network, www.journeywatch.com. Simply signup for free and you can post location updates recording what's happening where you are and plot events on a map. You can also check in and contact other travellers to get the latest information. In the case of the
Ultimately, earthquakes "like traffic accidents, food poisoning, and even the outbreak of rabies on
If you still worry about the volume of travel warnings issued by foreign governments, the following anecdote from a recent meeting with the chargĂ© d'affaires of a Western embassy might put things in perspective.
Amongst the usual talk of local politics, I brought up the topic of fearsome travel warnings and the chargĂ© d'affaires smiled sheepishly and explained that they are obligated to provide a comprehensive summary of any risk their nationals might encounter. Then, with a cheeky smile, he cautioned me to be careful respiratory problems due to pollution levels and warned against getting a temporary henna tattoo, which are popular with tourists, as it might cause a rash.