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Tropical Cyclone Nathan

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
IFSA-Butler is monitoring the progress of Tropical Cyclone Nathan, currently a category 1 storm, just off the northeastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The storm is expected to increase in intensity to a category 2 or 3 storm by the time it makes landfall on Friday morning, March 20. The northern tip of Queensland is under a Tropical Cyclone warning, including the city of Cairns.

Students studying on the IFSA-Butler programs at James Cook University in both Cairns and Townsville have been notified of this storm, as well as precautions to take should it make landfall. The IFSA-Butler student services coordinator for the region, who lives locally, will remain in contact with students and provide any follow-up instructions. Safety instructions were also discussed during the IFSA-Butler program orientation. James Cook University is well prepared for tropical cyclones, and they too will be providing safety instructions to students.

IFSA-Butler has provided students with a 24/7 emergency contact number that students can call for assistance at any time. For further information about Tropical Cyclone Nathan, please see the following:


Fires Near Valparaíso, Chile (Update)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

IFSA-Butler is currently monitoring the fires that have broken out in the hills of Valparaíso, Chile. At this time, the fires pose no risk to IFSA-Butler students who are living in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, as they are located around 6 miles from where students live. The IFSA-Butler resident director confirmed today that all students are accounted for and safe. As of this morning, the air quality in Viña and Valparaíso was improving as the wind had shifted to a different direction. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide any updates as necessary.

Volcanic Eruption in Costa Rica

Friday, March 13
On Thursday, March 12, the Turrialba Volcano in Costa Rica erupted around 1:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. ET), ejecting a large amount of smoke and ash throughout the Central Valley of Costa Rica. This volcano is located around 35 miles east of Heredia, therefore posing no significant danger to Heredia or San José. The San José international airport was closed on Thursday, and it reopened early this morning, March 13.

The large amount of smoke and ash combined with the very windy weather in the region has left a light blanket over San José and Heredia, but the wind is causing the atmosphere to clear very quickly. IFSA-Butler has advised students with asthma or respiratory issues to stay inside or wear a mask when outdoors.

For more information about Turrialba Volcano, please see the following resources:

Israeli Car Attack

Friday, March 6, 2015
A car attack in Jerusalem on Friday injured four police officers and a bystander. The incident occurred in East Jerusalem, which is far from the Hebrew University campus and other areas of the city where our students would normally visit.

All IFSA-Butler students in Jerusalem have been contacted and accounted for by our on-site staff. Coordinators at Rothberg International School are available to provide help and to answer questions about this situation. IFSA-Butler's Manager of Student Services in Israel, Monica Wasserbach, is also available for student support.

IFSA-Butler students receive extensive safety training from Max Security Solutions during orientation. Max Security and IFSA-Butler staff in Israel also closely advise students on specific situations, as well as guidance to avoid certain spots in Jerusalem that are frequent targets for attacks.

For more information:

Volcanic Eruption in Chile

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A volcanic eruption in southern Chile occurred early this morning, Tuesday, March 3, at 3:00 a.m. local time. The Villarica Volcano is located over 380 miles south of Santiago and Valparaíso; therefore, it poses no risk to IFSA-Butler students who are currently studying on our programs in Chile. Nearby towns have been evacuated and there have been no reports of injuries at this time.

Students studying in Santiago are in the middle of their program orientation in the city, and they have sessions scheduled at the Universidad de Chile today. Valparaíso students just started their classes this week at the university. All students have been accounted for by our resident directors. Students have been advised of the situation and have been asked to forgo any travel plans to this region for the time being, as Villarica Volcano is a popular tourist destination during the Chilean summer months.

During the IFSA-Butler program orientation, the resident directors speak extensively about staying healthy and safe while in Chile. This discussion includes travel safety, and the importance of informing IFSA-Butler of any travel plans before departing the city. Additionally, the IFSA-Butler resident staff can be reached at a 24/7 emergency number should students need assistance while in Chile.

For more information about this volcanic eruption, please refer to the following media outlets:

BBC News

ABC News

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