About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Incidents in Israel

March 8, 2016  

There have been a series of security incidents in Israel over the past 24 hours. The IFSA-Butler Student Services Manager in Israel, Monica Wasserbach, has checked in with everyone on the program. All of our students are accounted for and fine.  

Following is a brief summary of today’s unfortunate events:

  • A man stabbed 10 people in Jaffo/Tel Aviv, and one American tourist was killed in the incident. The attacker was shot dead by police.
  • In Petah Tikva, a western suburb of Tel Aviv, a man was stabbed and wounded by an unknown attacker.
  • In Jerusalem, a man on a motorcycle opened fire on policemen patrolling Damascus Gate in the Old City. The attacker was also shot dead by police.
  • Three women were arrested earlier this morning for carrying knives and planning stabbing attacks in Jerusalem and at the Abu Dis checkpoint. All three women were apprehended. 

We have been closely monitoring security events in Israel. As you may see from the news recently, there have been an uptick in stabbings and attempted attacks over the past month, as well as attacks and raids in the West Bank. At this time, we are going to keep a close eye on the events in Israel and adjust any programming if necessary.  

We spend considerable time talking about safety and security with students during the program orientation as well as throughout the semester. The Muslim Quarter of the Old City, which includes the Damascus Gate, has been off-limits for our students since the beginning of the semester until further notice. Additionally, students have been reminded to submit any travel plans to Monica should they leave Jerusalem overnight, including weekend trips to Tel Aviv. We do not allow travel to the West Bank or the Gaza Strip under any circumstances.  

While it may be unsettling to hear such news while your student is abroad, please know that we keep close watch on all students and make sure they are aware of their surroundings and environment. Monica and the RIS staff at Hebrew University do a fantastic job of checking in with the students and providing any information and support that is needed.

If you would like more information about the events from today, please see the following media outlets:  

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35758143
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/209095#.Vt8nROb5_ow
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.707665

Please contact Eryn Espín-Kudzinski, Director of Health, Safety and Security with any questions or concerns.

 
Balcony Collapse at University of Otago

March 4, 2016

On Friday around 9 p.m. local time, the balcony of an apartment at the University of Otago collapsed during a private concert. There were close to 20 people on the balcony, and officials suspect that the balcony could not support the amount of weight, causing it to fall. No one was killed in the incident, but a few of the victims sustained serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

IFSA-Butler's local Dunedin staff immediately began contacting students to verify their safety, and IFSA-Butler has also contacted the local Dunedin hospital to confirm that no IFSA-Butler students have been admitted for treatment. At this time, we have accounted for all but one of our students studying at the University of Otago.

All parents and study abroad advisors of Otago students have been contacted. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide any relevant updates.

For more information on this incident, please see the Otago Daily Times. You may also contact Director of Health, Safety and Security Eryn Espín-Kudzinski with any questions or concerns.

 
Dengue Virus in Argentina

February 18, 2016  

Recently, there have been reports of increased outbreaks of dengue in the northeast region of Argentina.

Dengue is caused by a virus spread through mosquito bites, and symptoms (which usually last about a week) typically include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, and pain in the eyes, joints and muscles. The major areas at risk are in the Misiones and Formosa Provinces, which are about 12 hours by car from Buenos Aires. This is a considerable distance from IFSA-Butler program locations, however there is a chance that infections could happen in urban areas during the Argentina summer due to the higher density of mosquitos and muggy climate.

While there is no immediate threat to student health or safety, we’d like to provide additional information regarding this virus. For the average traveler, it seems the risk is the same as the other vector borne diseases in the region such as yellow fever or chikungunya. The best advice for students is to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:

Resources for Protecting
Yourself How to Avoid Bug Bites: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites
Insect Repellent Use and Safety: www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html   

Information on Other Mosquito-borne Diseases
Chikungunya: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/chikungunya
Yellow fever: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/yellow-fever
Zika: www.cdc.gov/zika/ 

Information on Dengue:
World Health Organization
Center for Disease Control  

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide any relevant updates. 

Please contact Eryn Espín-Kudzinski, Director of Health, Safety and Security with any questions or concerns.

 
Zika Virus in Latin America

January 25, 2016

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions and countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The CDC describes Zika as:

  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week
  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon
  • Deaths are rare

However, the Zika virus has also been linked to increases in microcephaly cases, which cause underdeveloped brains in infants. At this point, the CDC advises that pregnant women, and women trying to get pregnant, consider postponing their travel to these regions.

For the average traveler like students preparing to study abroad, the risk seems to be similar to other vector borne diseases in the region, such as dengue or chikungunya. The best advice for students is to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or IR3535. Always use as directed. Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin and IR3535 are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than two months when used according to the product label. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under three years of age.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents)
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide any relevant updates. The full CDC warning can be found here:

Centers for Disease Control

Please contact Eryn Espín-Kudzinski, Director of Health, Safety and Security with any questions or concerns.

 
Car Bomb in Tel Aviv

January 19, 2016  

IFSA-Butler is monitoring events in Tel Aviv, Israel, where a car bomb exploded early this morning in close proximity to the stock exchange in Ramat Gan, which is about 45-60 minutes away from our Hebrew University program in Jerusalem.  Initial reports indicate that three people were wounded, and the incident is suspected to be criminal activity rather than related to terrorism.  All IFSA-Butler students and staff are accounted for and busy with orientation in Jerusalem. 

We take student safety and security very seriously. A dedicated team of individuals regularly monitors the reports mentioned above, assesses current security conditions in all IFSA-Butler program locations and surrounding areas, as well as responds to emergencies and critical incidents that may happen during the course of a program. Additionally, the program orientation includes several discussions on safety and security. Our students can contact our student services manager in Israel 24/7 at an emergency number given to them during the orientation.

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide any relevant updates. More information on this incident can be found here:

Times of Israel

Please contact Eryn Espín-Kudzinski, Director of Health, Safety and Security with any questions or concerns.

 
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