About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Heavy Rains and Flooding in Santiago, Chile

April 18, 2016

Over the weekend, heavy rains in central Chile caused major flooding as well as landslides in the nearby mountainous regions. These factors have caused water shortages throughout many cities in Chile, including Santiago. Some water supply has been contaminated and at this time is unsafe to drink in several areas of the city. Chile's National Office for Emergency (ONEMI) has issued a red alert for the affected areas, and they are currently working on restoring the water supply to the remainder of the city.

Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are not affected by this alert.

Classes and activities at the Universidad de Chile, Universidad Diego Portales and the Universidad Católica in Santiago have been suspended today. The IFSA-Butler Santiago office is also closed for the day; however, our resident director will be working from home. Students can contact our resident director via email or phone if they have any questions or concerns about the current situation.

For more information on this, please see the following reports:

 
Earthquake in Ecuador

April 17, 2016

On April 16, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near the coast of Ecuador, approximately 150 miles northwest of the capital city Quito. Several strong aftershocks ranging from 5.5 to 7.4 on the Richter scale have occurred since the initial quake, and more aftershocks are predicted through the remainder of the day. Approximately 70 people have died and over 600 individuals have been injured, largely in Ecuador's coastal areas. Authorities have sent emergency services to the affected regions to help with relief efforts and assistance. 

A tsunami alert was initially issued for the coast of Ecuador, as well as northern Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia. That alert has now been lifted.

All IFSA-Butler students in Ecuador are accounted for and doing well. Our resident director in Ecuador, Daniel Bryan, reported that the group is currently in their Amazon communities; therefore, they were not directly affected by the earthquake. 

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

For additional information, please see the following reports:

BBC

USA Today

New York Times

Please feel free to contact IFSA-Butler if you have any questions or concerns.

 
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.

 
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