US issues highest-level travel warning for Lebanon
The US government has classified the travel advisory for Lebanon as "Level 4: Do Not Travel", the highest possible level.
This level is normally designated for countries experiencing severe conditions, such as famine and conflict, though many wealthy countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, are also currently included in Level 4 due to surging rates of Covid-19.
Other countries in the region currently listed as Level 4 include Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Sudan, Yemen, and Iran. Included in "Level 3: Reconsider Travel" are Egypt, Jordan, and Qatar. By comparison, Ethiopia and the Republic of Congo are currently at "Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution".
The State Department started its message by warning US citizens against traveling due to high rates of Covid-19, then detailed other risks associated with Lebanon’s years-long political and economic crisis.
The message also pointed to a rise in violent crime and risks to personal safety.
“Multiple unsolved killings within the past 12 months in Lebanon may have been politically motivated. US citizens living and working anywhere in Lebanon should be aware of the risks of remaining in the country and review their personal security plans,” it said.
It also pointed to the country’s weakened infrastructure, including power outages and fuel shortages.
“Long lines at gas stations are common and cause traffic congestion throughout the country. Lebanese media periodically report physical and armed altercations at gas stations over scarce supplies. Disruptions to the mobile telephone network, internet service, health services, and water may occur due to electricity outages,” it continueed.
It also warned of Lebanon’s lack of available hard currency and medical supplies, as the country’s financial crisis has prevented it from importing needed medications.
“Pharmacies and hospitals report chronic shortages of medicines and medical equipment and difficulties paying medical staff. Travelers should bring sufficient quantities of prescription medications to cover the length of their stay,” the message advises.
The message concluded by further warning US citizens that if they do choose to travel, the embassy would be limited in its ability to help them should they need assistance.
“US citizens who choose to travel to Lebanon should be aware that consular officers from the US Embassy are not always able to travel to assist them,” the message warned.
“The internal security policies of the US Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice.”