Squaremouth recommends travel insurance for international travel. Policies available on squaremouth.com may include terrorism and non-medical evacuation coverage. Below is an update on the travel warning issued for Lebanon.
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs has issued an updated travel warning for all U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Lebanon. The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Lebanon because of the increase of violence and kidnappings in the region.
Several extremist groups deemed terrorist organizations by the U.S. government, such as Hizballah, maintain a strong presence in certain areas of Lebanon. U.S citizens traveling to, and residing in, Lebanon should carefully consider the risks, as the Lebanese government cannot ensure the safety of travelers during violent uprisings. Restricted access to borders, roads, seaports, and airports may limit U.S government personnel from reaching travelers. All Westerners are encouraged to keep a low profile, vary travel patterns, and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. Extremist groups operating in the country have detained and interrogated U.S. citizens for political motivations and/or ransom. Extreme caution should be observed at all times, as U.S. policy does not pay ransom in kidnapping cases.
In addition to personal attacks, U.S. citizens should also be aware of violence near the borders of Syria and Israel and around Palestinian refugee camps. Rocket attacks from Lebanon into northern Israel often prompt return rocket fire, sometimes without warning. Along the Syrian border, reports of gunfire and shelling originating from Syria have prompted the Department of State to advise all U.S. citizens avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region. In addition, landmines and unexploded ordnance pose a significant threat, and travelers should stay away from areas with posted land mine warnings.
U.S. citizens traveling in Lebanon despite the Department of State’s travel warning are advised that the U.S. Embassy’s ability to reach all areas of Lebanon is limited, especially if the security climate worsens. Citizens should ensure that they have proper and up-to-date documentation at all times so as not to delay any necessary travel. In the event of a security emergency, citizens will be responsible for their own transportation out of the country. The U.S. government will only facilitate evacuation in cases where there is no safe alternative. For more information on the government’s role during an emergency, please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
All U.S. visitors or residents of Lebanon can receive travel updates and updated security information by enrolling in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This program also makes it easier for the Department of State to contact them in case of an emergency. Travelers can also stay informed through the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, Facebook or Twitter pages, or free Smart Traveler App, available for the iTunes or Android market.
Travelers can find updated information 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, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm ET.The U.S. Embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, Beirut, Lebanon. The Embassy is open to U.S. citizens Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 8:00 am – 11:00 am and by appointment only. U.S. citizens requiring emergency services outside these hours may contact the embassy by telephone (961-4) 542-600, 543-600, and fax 544-209. For more information, travelers should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Lebanon.