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Cablegate: Travel Warning - Zimbabwe

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DE RUEHC #0868/01 3472144
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 122137Z DEC 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA IMMEDIATE 7200
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RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE 4649
INFO RUESBKC/ATO ASIA IMMEDIATE 1780

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 130868

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC ASEC ZI
SUBJECT: TRAVEL WARNING - ZIMBABWE

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. For additional information on cholera, American
citizens may refer to the CDC's website at
http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/dfbmd/disease_listi ng/chol
era_gi.html. 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.

5. For the latest security information, Americans
traveling abroad should regularly monitor the
Department's Internet web site at
http://travel.state.gov 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
http://travel.state.gov.

6. U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are

STATE 00130868 002 OF 002


encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy
or Consulate through the State Department's travel
registration web site at
https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ 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 http://travel.state.gov.

7. 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 consularharare@state.gov. The
Embassy's Internet home page address is
http://harare.usembassy.gov.

8. Minimize considered.
RICE

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