Is it safe to go to Indonesia?
INDONESIA is still reeling after a series of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks rocked the nation.
It is said to be the deadliest violence in the country since the Bali bombings 16 years ago in which 202 people were killed.
“The gruesome church attack on Sunday, which involved using children as suicide bombers and left 13 people dead and more than 40 injured, also follows another pattern – an uptick of violence linked to the terrorist group in Southeast Asia,” Asian Correspondent wrote.
Four days later, four samurai sword-wielding men attacked the Riau police headquarters on the island of Sumatra.
“The individuals crashed a vehicle into the entrance of the police station and began attacking officers,” CNN quoted National Police Spokesman Setyo Wasisto as saying.
The police shot and killed the four suspected terrorists.
It is a double whammy for Indonesia, as the attacks came just one day after safety fears over the Mount Merapi volcanic eruption, which sent plumes of thick smoke into the air
So is it safe to go to Indonesia?
The US, UK, Australia, Singapore, UAE, and Malaysia have reportedly issued travel advisories for their citizens in Indonesia.
“If you’re in the area, you should monitor local media, exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities,” the UK government wrote in their travel advisory.
And according to PerthNow, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is monitoring the situation closely, advising Australians traveling to Indonesia to ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ when they visit the country.
What does it mean for travelers?
Travel advisories are meant to inform travelers who are unaware of safety and health situations in the country they intend to visit.
This includes information and updates concerning terrorism, public crime, civil unrest, disease, and weather.
Countries issue travel advisories as it is their responsibility to alert their citizens and help them make informed decisions about traveling to various places in the world.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are banned from going to the said destination.
The Jakarta Post quoted Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Arief Yahya as saying that travel advisories meant a country was still safe to visit, explaining that there were three levels of alerts, namely travel advisory, travel warning, and travel ban.
Arief added that the warning is considered to be lighter than the one during Mount Agung’s eruption in Karangasem, Bali last year when several countries issued a travel warning.
So be vigilant, monitor the news closely, avoid crowded places, update your family and loved ones often, and ensure that you have all the necessary contact numbers on hand.