Cigna International Health Insurance

Zimbabwe Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Dec 12, 2008

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Zimbabwe due to deteriorating safety and security conditions, and urges them to carefully consider their need to travel there. The political instability and economic crisis in Zimbabwe have resulted in small-scale civil demonstrations and riots by military personnel, and a general deterioration of government services and infrastructure, including the near collapse of the country's public health system. The Department of State therefore urges U.S. citizens visiting Zimbabwe to closely monitor the situation, keep travel documents up to date, and have contingency plans ready for their own personal health, safety and security.

Americans travelling to Zimbabwe should avoid crowds. Zimbabwean authorities may forcefully disband demonstrations by labor unions and other civil groups. American citizens should avoid all public demonstrations and protests.

The public health system in Zimbabwe no longer provides even basic services due to a lack of staff, electricity, clean water, and medical supplies. Americans who fall ill while in Zimbabwe may find it difficult to find treatment. In late 2008, the deterioration of the health system impaired the government's ability to respond to a dangerous cholera outbreak which has killed hundreds of people. Cholera is a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the intestine that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. The disease is spread through untreated sewage and contaminated drinking water. The latest outbreak in Zimbabwe has exposed a shortage of potable water throughout the country and overwhelmed medical resources. Travelers to Zimbabwe should drink boiled or bottled water, use boiled or bottled water in food preparation, and regularly wash their hands with a sanitizer.

For additional information on cholera, American citizens may refer to the CDC's website at American citizens experiencing symptoms associated with cholera, such as severe diarrhea, should seek immediate medical attention. However, Harare's three public hospitals have virtually shut down. Private clinics, while operational, often lack staff, electricity, water, and medical supplies. As a result, there is no guarantee that travelers who become ill will be able to obtain adequate emergency medical treatment in Zimbabwe.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Americans are also encouraged to read the Country Specific Information for Zimbabwe, available at

U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site at so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security. Americans without internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" found at

U.S. citizens may contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy in Harare for further information. The Embassy is located on 172 Herbert Chitepo Avenue, Harare. Telephone 263-4-250-593/4/5, e-mail The Embassy's Internet home page address is Department of State travel information and publications are available at Internet address:

U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling the Department of State in Washington, D.C. at 202-647-5225 from their touch-tone telephone, or receive information by automated telefax by dialing 202-647-3000 from their fax machine.

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