Wildfire risks to increase during summer months; avoid affected areas (Revised)

Created and/or Modified: Thursday, July 11, 2019 14:26:13 GMT

Level: Notice
Location: France; Germany; Greece; Italy; Portugal; Spain; Slovakia; Czech Republic; Hungary
Category: Heatwave, Wildfires

Members in southern and central Europe – particularly Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain – are reminded of the elevated risk of wildfires over the summer months, and to avoid affected areas. The risk is exacerbated this year by rising temperatures and dry conditions in many parts of Europe since June. Members should follow all directives and reconfirm the status of routes if conducting journeys near affected locations. Poor visibility due to smoke can prompt the closure of local roads.


  • Avoid areas affected by wildfires. Familiarise yourself with the location of nearby evacuation shelters and possible evacuation routes from your accommodation. Adhere to all directives issued by the authorities, including any evacuation orders.
  • Monitor websites such as the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and MeteoAlarm, as well as local radio stations, for up-to-date information on wildfires and evacuation orders. Monitor our alerts for further updates.
  • If residing near an evacuation zone, consider packing a ‘grab bag’ in the event a short-notice evacuation is required. This should include a torch/flashlight with extra batteries, first-aid kit, essential medicines, bottled water and a battery-operated radio.
  • Members residing in the vicinity of affected areas could also experience power outages and supply shortages. Prepare an evacuation checklist, including enough stocks of food, water and medical supplies for at least a week; as well as alternative power and communication systems such as phone and torch batteries and power banks.
  • Exercise caution during overland travel near affected areas due to poor visibility and the possibility of road closures. Reconfirm the status of routes before setting out and allow additional travel time due to potential detours.

More detail

The local authorities in affected areas have issued alerts and mobilised in preparation for wildfires. However, the strong winds and high temperatures expected this summer are likely to complicate the response of emergency and civil protection agencies.

To this end, EU member states have strengthened their disaster risk management capabilities and early warning systems through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism. This allows for a quicker and more co-ordinated response from other member states in the event of a natural disaster in any of their territories.

Catalonia region (Spain) in late June experienced one of its worst recorded wildfires, which affected a 25-sq-mile (65 sq km) area, forced evacuations and resulted in road closures. Other wildfires so far this year have burned large tracts of land and caused disruption in Catania and Syracuse (both Italy), Occitanie region (France), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state (Germany) and Evia island (Greece).

Heat wave across several countries

Created and/or Modified: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 01:59:34 GMT

Level: Notice
Location: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Germany; Italy; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Poland; Switzerland; Serbia
Category: Heat

Latest update: heat moving eastward. Unusually high temperatures have been recorded in several European countries. Exposure to excessive temperatures for a sustained period can pose health risks ranging from relatively mild rashes and sunburn, to heat stroke, a medical emergency. To prevent heat-related illnesses, keep yourself hydrated and avoid exposure to heat.


Do the following:

  • Minimise time in the sun, especially during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid alcohol, caffeinated and sugary drinks.
  • Avoid excess physical activity, or defer until the temperature lessens.
  • Use air conditioning and fans to reduce exposure to sustained high temperatures.
  • Wear loose, cool clothing that covers the body. Natural fibers are often cooler than synthetics.
  • Use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply liberally to all exposed body parts and reapply as advised by the manufacturer.
  • Protect the face and eyes. Wear a hat and UV filtering sunglasses.
  • In case of heat rash, alleviate the discomfort by keeping cool, and bathing often. If the rash is very itchy, an over-the-counter lotion may help.
  • Rest immediately if you begin to feel weak or dizzy. Lie down in a cool, shaded place and seek medical assistance if symptoms persist.

More detail

A number of countries have recently been impacted by a heatwave including France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Spain. By early July, the heat started abating in these countries though it moved eastward, bringing high temperatures to Serbia. Other Balkan countries may be impacted before the weather subsides.

Authorities have urged people to take adequate precautions to protect themselves, particularly elderly, young children and those with medical conditions are at a higher risk. 

What are the health implications?
Exposure to intense temperatures can pose health risks ranging from relatively mild rashes and sunburn up to the dangerous condition heat stroke.

Sunburn develops when skin is overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. The result is red, painful skin that sometimes becomes swollen and blistered. Severe sunburn can also cause chills, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Heat rash, sometimes called "prickly heat" or "miliaria", often occurs on skin covered by clothing. The rash may cause no symptoms, or may itch or sting. Once in a cooler environment, it often it gets better on its own. Occasionally treatment may be required.

Heat exhaustion is a risk, especially for elderly people and those who work or exercise in hot environments. Initial symptoms are excessive sweating and muscles cramps. These can progress into fatigue, headache, dizziness, fainting and other symptoms. The situation is more serious if dehydration symptoms develop (dry skin and mouth, increased thirst, fast pulse).

Heat stroke is a serious illness which occurs when the body's cooling mechanism fails due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It is a medical emergency. Body temperature rises to dangerous levels during heat stroke. This can occur quickly: temperatures may rise to 41 degrees C (106 degrees F) or even higher within 15 minutes. In addition to fever, patients may become confused, disoriented, uncoordinated, and have trouble speaking or understanding others. These are signs of serious illness. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

For more information:

  • See the “Heat and Sun” and “Dehydration” articles in the “Travel Advice” dropdown on International SOS Location Guides.
  • Contact any International SOS Assistance Centre.

Continue to monitor developments, follow all government guidelines related to UK leaving EU; deadline extended until 31 October (Revised)

Created and/or Modified: Monday, June 17, 2019 15:59:10 GMT

Level: Notice
Location: Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom
Category: Key date, Entry restrictions

Members in the UK and EU member states should continue to monitor developments and follow all government guidelines related to the process of the UK leaving the EU, known as 'Brexit'. The Brexit deadline has been extended until 31 October, averting a 'No Deal' scenario before this date. A new leader of the ruling Conservative Party will replace Theresa May as prime minister during the week starting 22 July. Many candidates running for the leadership position have announced they would aim to renegotiate the current withdrawal agreement. Members should only act upon confirmed, verified information and avoid all related rallies to minimise inconvenience.


  • Monitor developments and follow all British government guidelines related to the UK leaving the EU.
  • Maintain a degree of flexibility that allows you to respond to emerging developments. As a precaution, British nationals planning to travel to the EU should ensure their passport is valid for at least six months by the planned dates of travel. EU nationals planning to travel to the UK should ensure they follow related country-specific directives.
  • Anticipate significant delays in the event of a 'No Deal' Brexit due to increased immigration and customs checks, particularly at land and sea borders. Allow additional time to complete journeys.
  • Monitor our alerts for related updates.

More detail

Following successive failures to secure enough support for her negotiated withdrawal agreement with the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May resigned as the leader of the ruling Conservative Party on 7 June. She remains caretaker prime minister until her successor is decided through the party leadership election process. The results of the contest will be announced following a vote by party members on 22 July. After a first round of voting by Conservative MPs, the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson emerged as the front runner. Johnson has previously said he prefers to get a deal, but that the UK should leave the EU on 31 October even if no deal is in place.

While entry and exit requirements in a 'No Deal' scenario remain subject to change, as per the Schengen Border Code, travellers from the UK would need at least six months validity on their passports. EU nationals travelling to the UK for business and leisure will be able to stay for up to three months, after which they will need to apply for temporary residence. Entry procedures, including the use of immigration e-gates, will initially remain unchanged. However, travel between the UK and EU is likely to require additional time due to increased immigration and customs formalities.

Related demonstrations in the UK by pro- and anti-Brexit activists have so far remained peaceful. However, some hardline Brexit supporters, such as far-right activist Tommy Robinson, have threatened violence should Brexit be cancelled. Potential protest venues in the capital London are Parliament Square, Whitehall, Regent Street, Oxford Circus, and Trafalgar Square.

Disclaimer  Privacy

Travel security advice provided in this report represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd. Medical and health advice provided in this report represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. Advice in this report does not however provide a warranty of future results nor a guarantee against risk.

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