kosovo



Location: Southeastern Europe
Capital: Pristina

Time zone: GMT/UTC plus 1 hour
Daylight savings time: during northern hemisphere summer
Current time: 03:59
Population: 1,827,231
Currency: euro
Dialling code: +383
Internet suffix: N/A

Kosovo is a small Balkan country known for its violent separation from larger neighbour Serbia. Its international political situation remains disputed today.


Overall security situation: security challenges exist
Crime rate: low
Murder rate: low
Gun ownership levels: very high
Kidnapping hotspot: no
Maritime piracy hotspot: no
Do landmines/unexploded munitions pose a significant risk in parts of the country: no

While once caught up in conflict, Kosovo is relatively stable from a day-to-day basis, although some elements of society have grievances and intercommunal tensions can still provoke unrest and even violence, mostly in the north.

There is some petty crime and limited violent crime. Gun ownership levels are high. There is also a small level of risk posed by terrorism.

While landmines are not widespread, they do exist, particularly around border areas.


Aviation safety levels: potential concerns
Annual road fatality rates: moderate
Vehicles drive on the: right
Infrastructure quality: poor
Urban ATM availability: moderate
Electricity supply: 230V 50Hz
Electricity supply reliability: poor
Plug types: C and F

Plug type C (2 round pins, not grounded/earthed)

Plug type F (2 round pins, grounded/earthed, socket compatible with plug types C and E)


 


Is tap water drinkable: yes but precautions are advised and/or occasional health scares have been reported which necessitate periodic care
Healthcare quality: good healthcare provision
Infectious disease prevalence: extremely low

Vaccinations

Travellers should consult a medical practitioner prior to their trip but the following vaccines may be considered before travelling to the country, depending on factors such as specific destination, planned activities, intended time and length of stay as well as personal medical conditions (in some cases no additional vaccines may be required at all):

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B (not always needed)
  • Rabies (usually only for long-term stays, or for those spending time in isolated areas or coming into contact with animals)
  • Tick-borne encephalitis (usually only for those spending time in at-risk forested areas)
  • Typhoid
  • Standard vaccinations (ie those commonly used in the developed world, such as diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tuberculosis and tetanus)

Disease presence

Malaria risk: none
Yellow fever presence: no
Dengue fever prevalence: rare/non-existent
Rabies prevalence: high risk
HIV prevalence in society: low
Hepatitis A prevalence: intermediate
Hepatitis B prevalence: intermediate
Hepatitis E prevalence: not highly endemic
Cholera status: low risk
Chikungunya virus presence: not present

Zika virus presence: not recently reported
Japanese encephalitis presence: no
Cutaneous leishmaniasis presence: non-endemic
Visceral leishmaniasis presence: some reported cases
Onchocerciasis presence: non-endemic
Schistosomiasis presence: none
Tick-borne encephalitis status: possible risk
Chagas disease presence: none

Typhoid fever presence: endemic
African trypanosomiasis presence: none
Plague status: not thought to be present
Rift Valley fever status: not present
Lassa fever status: not present
Polio status: not endemic
Ebola outbreaks: no
Meningococcal meningitis hotspot: no


Climate: influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns; Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation; maximum rainfall between October and December
Terrain: flat fluvial basin at an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 m
Natural disaster risk: moderate
Natural hazards: earthquakes; landslides; extreme temperatures; storms; flooding
Tropical storms: few/none
Volcanic activity: low/none
Previous earthquake(s) with over 1,000 fatalities: no


Government type: republic
Socio-economic development score: 5/10 (medium levels of socio-economic development)
Adult literacy rate: 91.9%
Unemployment rate: very high
Civil liberties: some restrictions, usually mild
Investment rating: not rated
Corruption levels: fairly high
Same-sex sexual activity: legal
Death penalty: abolished
Languages: Albanian (official) 94.5%, Bosnian 1.7%, Serbian (official) 1.6%, Turkish 1.1%, other 0.9% (includes Romani), unspecified 0.1%
Ethnic groups: Albanians 92.9%, Bosniaks 1.6%, Serbs 1.5%, Turk 1.1%, Ashkali 0.9%, Egyptian 0.7%, Gorani 0.6%, Roma 0.5%, other/unspecified 0.2% (note that these figures underrepresent Serb, Roma and other ethnic minority communities)
Beliefs: Muslim 95.6%, Orthodox 1.5%, Roman Catholic 2.2%, other 0.07%, none 0.07%, unspecified 0.6%

General guidelines

  • The following advice has been compiled by travel safety specialists and ex-special forces personnel.
  • However, please note that it is of a general nature only and may not reflect the reality of your circumstances.
  • Ensure you have proper insurance cover in place.
  • Select good quality accommodation and properly prepare for any tasks, excursions or other activities you have to undertake.
  • Be mindful of local laws and cultural norms, bearing in mind that they might be different to what you are accustomed to.
  • Consider conducting or obtaining a risk assessment specific to you, your profile and your trip, task or operation.
  • This should take into account the likelihood of potential risks affecting you, as well as the likely impact they will have, and will help you decide, depending on your risk appetite and implementable risk mitigation measures, whether or not you should proceed.

Foreign government warnings

  • Pay attention to the advice issued by your government and/or other countries (such as the US or UK).
  • For most travellers, it will be very much advisable to avoid any areas deemed to be high-risk by official government bodies.
  • For those who need to travel to these locations for work, personal or other essential reasons should consider the risks likely to be present and take appropriate measures.
  • Insurance may not be valid for travel undertaken to these areas, so it is advisable to check with your provider before travel.
  • Note that areas of official high-risk might change at short notice.

Weather

  • If rainfall, flooding, extreme temperatures or other types of severe weather are a concern, check the local weather patterns to find out if there are times of the year where the risk is much higher.
  • Consider avoiding travel to at-risk destinations during these times.
  • Try to stay in good quality accommodation.
  • Take appropriate clothing and footwear.
  • Take appropriate protection for any sensitive equipment you wish to bring.
  • Note that storms, flooding and other types of harsh weather can overload infrastructure, lead to traffic jams and power cuts.
  • Flooding and heavy rainfall can also raise the risk of landslides, as well as insect- and water-borne diseases in some parts of the world.
  • As such, be prepared to delay, alter or even cancel travel plans to affected or high-risk areas.

Infrastructure

  • Be prepared for potentially poor-quality roads and other forms of transportation.
  • This can make it difficult to get around.
  • Consider obtaining a high-quality vehicle that can handle difficult terrain if you intend to travel anywhere with particularly bad-quality roads.
  • Bear in mind that traffic safety conditions may be poor.
  • Try to ensure that any accommodation or workplace is located in a good quality building.
  • Bear in mind that in the event of an accident or emergency, the emergency response services may have very limited resources available.

Aviation safety

  • Try to use reputable airlines.
  • Check the safety records of any companies you use to charter flights.
  • Check the weather forecast in advance of travel – particularly for domestic flights.
  • Consider delaying your trip or using an alternative means of transport rather than taking a risky flight.

Road traffic accident

  • Be aware of local driving conditions and hazards.
  • Drive defensively and adhere to speed limits to minimise the risk of being caught up in an accident, or request that your driver(s) do the same.
  • If using a taxi or local driver, ensure that they are qualified and competent and that their vehicle appears well maintained.
  • Ensure that vehicles are in good working order before travel.
  • Perform regular checks on your vehicles for oil, fuel, tyres and seatbelts.
  • Consider taking additional equipment such as a jack, spare tyres, water, blankets, torches and a first aid kit, especially if travelling to more rural or isolated areas.
  • Consider using four-wheel drive vehicles for particularly poor road conditions.
  • Car users should know how to perform emergency repairs.

Healthcare

  • Bear in mind that healthcare facilities and services may be less extensive than what you are used to at home.
  • Facilities and services may be particularly limited in rural areas.
  • Pharmacies may not offer the same medications you might be accustomed to being able to purchase at home.
  • If you use any medications on a regular basis, consider taking extra supplies.
  • It may also be advisable to have them accompanied by a note from your doctor.
  • In the event of serious or complicated illness or injury it may be necessary for a patient to be evacuated out of the country.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient medical insurance in place to cover such an event.

Crime

  • Research and familiarise yourself with your destination in advance of travel.
  • Find out what the local criminal trends are and identify any potential hotspots, such as certain neighbourhoods.
  • You may wish to avoid the higher risk areas, but this is not always practical.
  • As such, in higher risk areas exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Note that jewellery, watches, mobile phones, laptops or other items may mark you out as a potential target for petty thieves.
  • Be careful with your wallet and cash.
  • Note that crime trends can change, and the level of risk can become higher, after dark.
  • In general, use your gut instincts and be prepared avoid situations, places or people that seem suspicious, odd or wrong in some way.

Civil unrest

  • Civil unrest can lead to road closures and even curfews, which can affect your travel plans.
  • Be prepared for delays and route alterations.
  • Avoid demonstrations as they can turn violent.
  • If demonstrations take place on a frequent basis, research the trends which tend to accompany them.
  • Where do they tend to take place? Do they tend to turn violent? Do attendees target specific types of building or representative interests associated with a specific nationality, industry, political group (such as party political offices, state buildings or foreign-owned businesses)?
  • Once you have identified the sorts of risks, trends and areas of higher risk to be avoided you can start planning to minimise your exposure.

Terrorism

  • Terrorism can pose a risk, even in otherwise mostly safe countries.
  • Assess the trends and tactics of any relevant terrorist organisations with the potential for targeting your location and identify potential targets.
  • Be vigilant in and around these areas, which could include crowded places, symbolic or sensitive political sites, or busy restaurant, nightlife or tourist spots.
  • Use your judgement on the frequency of incidents taking place. Just because an incident has taken place in a certain city does not mean that the city will regularly be hit again – use rational judgement to decide whether or not there is a likelihood that you will be caught up in any future incidents.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to react at short notice in the event of an incident.
  • In the event of an incident, get out of the area quickly if it is safe to do so.
  • Alternatively hide and try to keep out of harm’s way.
  • In most cases you should only try to help other people if it is safe for you to do so.
  • Keep quiet and notify the relevant authorities, colleagues or loved ones only when you are out of danger.

Seismic activity

  • Be prepared to respond at short notice to any seismic activity.
  • Create an emergency plan to follow in the event of an incident that involves a communications breakdown, so you can meet colleagues at a designated meeting point if you are separated and cannot get in contact with one another.
  • Practise drills such as “drop, seek cover and hold on” procedure so that you can take shelter as soon as an incident occurs.
  • Know the location of your nearest medical kit and medically trained personnel.
  • Knowledge of basic first aid will also be very useful.
  • Get away from glass or anything that could fall if shaking starts.
  • Consider carrying a whistle that can be used to alert first responders in the event that you are trapped after an earthquake – although bear in mind that in some circumstances and/or locations there may not be much in the way of first response capabilities, particularly following a damaging earthquake.
  • In the event of an incident, avoid damaged buildings that might still be at risk of collapse.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Note that earthquakes can trigger tsunamis and landslides so be prepared to move out of harm’s way once the shaking has stopped.
  • You may need to move very quickly and with limited time.