Following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, we highlight 20 places which are among the most dangerous places to visit on Earth.
The security situation in Iraq remains highly volatile, and the Foreign Office advises against all travel to Baghdad as well as a number of provinces, including Basra and Kirkuk. There is a continuing high threat of terrorism throughout the country, including the threat of kidnapping of foreign nationals
Afghanistan has a high threat of terrorism, with a strong risk of kidnap, violent crime and suicide attacks across the country. The Foreign Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) strongly advises against all but essential travel to Kabul, adding that “no part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts”.
The Foreign Offices advises against all travel to Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan because of the security situation in the North Caucasus. Rebel fighters in Chechnya issued a warning to tourists not to visit Kabardino-Balkaria in July 2007. In previous years particular threats have included suicide attacks in public places in Moscow, including the Metro system, and the taking of hostages.
South Africa suffers from a high level of violent crime, including rape and murder, although most visits to the country are trouble-free as the majority of cases occur in townships and areas away from tourist destinations. Robberies and car-jackings at gunpoint are increasingly common.
Although Kingston has a reputation for gun crime and violence, most incidents take place in the central residential neighbourhoods which tourists rarely visit. However, visitors should remain vigilant in isolated rural areas and deserted beaches, even in daylight hours.
The threat from indiscriminate terrorism is high in Sudan and the humanitarian situation remains grim – more than two million people have been displaced by fighting in Darfur. Banditry is widespread in Dafur, especially in rural areas at night. The Foreign Office advises against all travel to a number of areas, including the Eritrean border.
Major political demonstrations and a temporary state of emergency have affected both of Bangkok’s airports. The area around Government House and nearby Ratchadamnoen “Nok” Road, including the area around Metropolitan Police headquarters and Parliament should be avoided. Fighting also broke out last month on the Cambodian border at Preah Vihear and tensions remain high. Civil unrest and frequent attacks continue in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla – the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to these areas.
The security situation has improved in recent years, although there remains a risk of kidnapping and terrorism in many parts of the country, particularly rural areas. There is also the threat of land mines; almost 400 people have been killed by land mines this year. Organised crime and drug trafficking remain serious problems and areas of large-scale coca production should be avoided.
The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Haiti, due to violent attacks and kidnappings for ransom. Demonstrations over the high price of basic food have frequently turned violent. A recent series of hurricanes have resulted in flooding and substantial loss of life. There is no British Embassy in Haiti and operations at the British Consulate in Port-au-Prince have been suspended since July 2005, due to the security situation.
The country’s border areas remain volatile, and all travel close to the borders with Ethiopia and Djibouti should be avoided. There is an “underlying threat from terrorism”.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Although there is a low threat of terrorism, the heightened insecurity and lawlessness in DRC makes it a highly unstable country to visit. The Foreign Office advises against all travel to the eastern and northeastern regions, and all but essential travel to the rest of DRC.
There is no British Embassy in Liberia, and the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel outside the capital, Monrovia. While the threat from terrorism is low, there is a high threat of violent crime in the capital, and demonstrations around the country can quickly become violent.
There is a high threat of terrorism and sectarian violence throughout the country, and the Foreign Office advises against all travel to areas where there are reports of “military or militant activity”. There are regular suicide bombings and attacks on positions of authority and locations frequented by foreign nationals – in September this year a major explosion destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, killing more than 50 people and injuring more than 250.
The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Burundi, including the capital Bujumbura. Although security has stabilised since the last remaining rebel group signed a cessation of hostilities with the government in May this year, there is a still a threat of ambush. There is no British Embassy in Burundi. There is a high threat of street crime, including robbery at gunpoint, in Bujumbura.
There is a very high risk of kidnapping and armed robbery in the Niger Delta area. Forty one British nationals and more than 200 other foreign nationals have been kidnapped in the region since January 2006. One British national has been killed in this period, and the most recent kidnap was of one British national in Akwa Ibom State on October 9. There is a general threat of terrorism in Nigeria, and violent crime is prevalent in the south, including Lagos.
The situation in Zimbabwe remains unpredictable, with ongoing political uncertainty and numerous politically motivated attacks across the country. The Foreign Office currently advises against all travel to high density, low-income suburban areas and all but essential travel to Harare city centre, where there have been reports of beatings and arbitrary arrests by army personnel. Rural Manicaland, farming areas, and regions where war veterans are known to be active should also be avoided.
Although the Foreign Office is currently advising against all but essential travel to Mumbai, most of the rest of the country is considered safe. Exceptions include the rural areas of Jammu, Kashmir (other than Ladakh) and the border area with Pakistan. There remains a high threat from terrorism throughout India.
While threats from terrorism are low, Mexico has a high incidence of street crime, and it is increasing. Tourists in urban centres and on public transport should remain vigilant. Other risks include those from earthquakes and the hurricane season, which runs from June to November. There have been three shark attacks along the Pacific coast this year, all involving surfers.
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
There is a high risk of terrorism throughout Israel. In the first three weeks of July there were three terrorist attacks in Jerusalem; four people died and 53 were wounded. The Foreign Office advises against all travel to Gaza, where “terrorist groups continue to maintain the intent and capability to kidnap foreigners”. Since the start of the second intifada in 2000, more than 5,000 people have been killed
Tensions in Lebanon continue following violent clashes in Beirut in May this year. The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel, with politically-motivated violence continuing in Beirut and elsewhere in the country. The threat from terrorism remains high.
In pictures: world's most dangerous places - Telegraph