In our September travel safety roundup we examine politics, social tension and climate change.

Unrest continues in Hong Kong, uncertainty prevails over Brexit and forest fires are affecting everywhere from the tropics to the Arctic.

Elsewhere in the world, we’ve got closely contested elections scheduled for Austria, Israel and Tunisia.

Popular travel destinations this month include the Mediterranean, South and South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

It’s also a good time to visit New England as its famous foliage changes colour for the Fall.

If there’s anywhere else in the world you think developments might affect travellers in September please register with our site and upload comments on locations that you know.

The more everyone contributes, the more we will all benefit from one another’s insight!

Hong Kong unrest

We’ve had several updates uploaded to our Hong Kong report amid ongoing unrest in the territory.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed! You make all the difference to Starling.

If you, or anyone else you know can comment on the situation in Hong Kong, or indeed anywhere else in the world, please share your insight here.

Essentially, violence is worsening although overall the demonstrations remain fairly concentrated in the city.

Furthermore, the tactics are still considered to be relatively controlled when compared to other protest movements elsewhere in the world.

Nonetheless, with the atmosphere of tensions rising, travellers should be prepared for further transport disruption. Check out our Hong Kong territory report for more insight.

 

Brexit

The deadline for the United Kingdom to leave the EU draws ever closer. Unsurprisingly, emotions are intensifying over the issue.

Regardless of where you stand in the debate, the situation can only be described as chaotic and almost impossible to plan for.

Subsequently, expect further travel uncertainty, as well as the risk of public demonstrations, especially in city centres (such as around Westminster) in the coming weeks as the situation evolves.

Transition in Khartoum

The political transition in Sudan continues. Be sure to read our Sudan page for an update.

For the time being, there are grounds for optimism over the process but many potentially cataclysmic stumbling blocks lie along the way as well.

Aden Falls

When the transitional government in Yemen lost its capital Sanaa to Houthi rebels in 2014, it moved its seat to the country’s second city of Aden.

Now, it has lost this city too, this time to an affiliation of southern separatists.

The move is a major loss of face for the government.

The international community is currently trying (and mostly failing) to broker some sort of peace agreement. However, many have failed to take into account the multiple sides, voices and grievances driving the conflict in the country.

For any future peace talks to have any hope they need to include southern separatists at the very least. Leaving major groups out of the discussions will only foster unrest and the risk of further instability and violence.

Until then, and for the foreseeable future at least, expect more tensions and conflict in the extremely fragmented country.

(Un)popular polls

Close elections are due to be held in Austria, Israel and Tunisia in September.

Tunisians will vote for a president on the 15th September. If no candidate gains more than 50% of the vote a run-off poll will be held before the 4th November.

Israel will hold parliamentary elections on the 17th September. No overall majority is expected from the two largest parties so the all-too-familiar process of protracted coalition building is likely to follow.

Austria is also due to hold snap polls on the 29th September. The previous government collapsed after a sting video exposed far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache in a misconduct scandal. Consequenty, the centre-right and Christian conservative Austrian People’s Party, led by 33-year old Sebastian Kurz, looks set to perform well.

The weather outlook

The month of September normally ushers in the end of summer in the northern hemisphere. The associated reduction in temperatures can bring relief to many areas, such as the Middle East and North Africa.

The month also marks the end of the monsoon in most of south Asia. The southwest monsoon, which traditionally affects shipping in the Gulf of Aden, also normally eases this month. However, this can bring an increased risk of opportunistic pirate attack in the region so shippers should be aware.

Seasonal changes

The following countries and territories also mark notable weather changes this month:

Algeria: the hot summer normally starts to ease this month.

Burundi: the country’s second rainy season of the year begins this month and lasts until November.

Eritrea: the rainy season, which began in June, normally ends this month.

India: the monsoon season normally ends this month.

Liberia: the rainy season, which began in June, normally ends this month.

Myanmar: the rainy season, which began in June, normally ends this month.

Oman: the brief, localised monsoon which normally affects the south of the country from May, usually ends this month.

Thailand: the south-west monsoon, which began in mid-May, normally ends this month.

Vietnam: the rainy season, which began in May, normally ends this month.

Yemen: the brief, localised monsoon which normally affects the north-east of the country from May, usually ends this month.

Hurricanes

While monsoon season is due to end in South Asia, hurricane season continues in the Caribbean and parts of the United States. It will last until the end of November.

Over recent years the number of tropical storms intensifying into hurricanes in the Atlantic has steadily increased. With global temperatures rising this is only likely to continue.

President Trump has contested claims he suggested these storms could be tackled with nuclear weaponry. On the contrary, there is extensive evidence that reckless human interference such as this is precisely what is causing the intensification.

Elsewhere in the world of populism vs environmentalism, president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro seems determined to press ahead with initiatives to clear jungle for agribusiness. Fires aimed at clearing areas of these invaluable ecosystems have subsequently intensified.

However, the issue is more complex than simply banning forest clearing operations. There are significant socio-economic factors that need to be addressed as well if any efforts at conserving the jungles are to be effective.

Local community engagement – particularly of indigenous cultures – will be vital. Economic transition plans will also be required to ensure that all the people currently involved in the agricultural business in the area become stakeholders in protecting the natural environment rather than simply being told what to do with little incentive.

All of this will take extensive resources. Support from the G7 is a good start, but it is a fraction of what is needed to manage the situation quickly and effectively.

Forest fires are occurring in other parts of the tropics as well. Angola and the DR Congo have actually been suffering with more forest fires than Brazil.

Growing concern

In the Starling monthly updates this year we have frequently covered the issue. It has been a regularly occurring development around the world, from the Arctic to the tropics. It seems only rational to attribute this to rising global temperatures.

Our hope is that it is man-made and reversible, but unless more is done to reduce global emissions we can only expect extreme weather incidents to become more frequent and damaging, with a destructive impact on our whole way of living, not just our travel plans.

Key Dates

1 September
Islam: Muharram
Slovakia: Constitution Day
Uzbekistan: Independence Day

4 September
Vietnam: National Day

6 September
Bulgaria: Unification Day
Swaziland: Independence Day

7 September
Brazil: Independence Day
Mozambique: Victory Day

8 September
Islam: Ashura
Macedonia: Independence Day
Malta: Feast of Our Lady of Victories Day

9 September
Tajikistan: Independence Day

10 September
Belize: St. George’s Caye Day

12 September
Cape Verde: National Day

14 September
Nicaragua: Battle of San Jacinto Day

15 September
Costa Rica: Independence Day
El Salvador: Independence Day
Guatemala: Independence Day
Honduras: Independence Day
Nicaragua: Independence Day
Slovakia: Day of Our Lady of Sorrows

16 September
Malaysia: Malaysia Day
Mexico: Independence Day

17 September
Angola: National Hero’s Day

18 September
Chile: Independence Day

19 September
Chile: Army Day

20 September
Timor-Leste: Freedom Day

21 September
Armenia: Independence Day
Belize: Independence Day
Malta: Independence Day

22 September
Bulgaria: Independence Day
Saudi Arabia: National Day

24 September
Cambodia: Constitution Day
South Africa: Heritage Day

25 September
Mozambique: Armed Forces Day

27 September
Eritrea: Meskel
Ethiopia: Meskal

28 September
Czech Republic: St. Wenceslas Day

29 September
Paraguay: Battle of Boquerón Victory Day

30 September
Botswana: Botswana Day

We hope you have safe travels ahead!

 

Votes, Unrest and Fire in September!
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