Republic of South Sudan US Ambassador Recalled

South Sudan Travel Advisory includes health information for Ebola, measles, polio, yellow fever, and typhoid outbreaks
south sudan flag in the shape of the country

In a Tweet posted by US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, given the latest developments, Ambassador Thomas Hushek has been ‘called-back’ as part of a re-evaluation of the U.S. relationship with the Government of South Sudan.

Previously, the US State Department issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for the Republic of South Sudan on April 9, 2019. This ‘Do Not Travel’ Advisory was related to significant civil unrest.

The Travel Advisory said ‘the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in South Sudan. U.S. government personnel in South Sudan are under a strict curfew. They must use armored vehicles for nearly all movements and official travel outside the capital of Juba is limited.’

Furthermore, due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of South Sudan, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a Notice to Airmen and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation.

In addition, the United Nations estimates some 219,720 South Sudanese refugees have returned to South Sudan between November 2017 to October 2019. The greatest number of spontaneous refugee returnees surveyed came from Sudan, followed by Uganda.

As of November 7th, a total of 190,455 civilians were sheltering at various UN Protection of Civilian sites. 

Previously, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all travel to South Sudan, as of October 18, 2019. 

This Advice says 'If you’re in South Sudan, you should leave if it’s safe to do so.’ 

And, ‘the Juba Airport is open and commercial flights are operating, but you should check flight schedules with airlines before traveling to the airport. And, you should make sure you have a valid visa before traveling,’ says the UK’s FCO.

The Republic of South Sudan is a new African nation after separating from Sudan in 2011. The Republic of South Sudan is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa with a population of about 12 million residents. 

It is bordered by Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Kenya to the southeast, Uganda to the south, the Central African Republic to the west, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest.

The country of South Sudan has 6 national parks, 13 game reserves and is rich in biodiversity and resources. Moreover, safaris are not uppermost in the mind when thinking about this nation, said the Guardian in September 2019. 

The government is banking on the country’s geographical and cultural diversity – it has 64 tribes – as well as Nile rafting tours, mountain climbing and conservation tourism to entice international visitors, said Joseph Oroto, director-general for South Sudan tourism. 

If you decide to travel to the Republic of South Sudan, the US State Department suggests the following action items:

  • Exercise extreme care in all parts of the country, including Juba. 
  • Travel outside of Juba with a minimum of two vehicles along with appropriate recovery and medical equipment in case of mechanical failure or other emergencies.
  • Avoid travel along border areas.
  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings. Even events intended to be peaceful can become violent.
  • Be aware that photography in public is strictly controlled and you are required to obtain authorization from the Ministry of Information before taking any photographs or video in public – including while inside a vehicle.
  • News reporting in South Sudan without the proper documentation from the South Sudanese Media Authority is considered illegal, and any journalistic work there is very dangerous.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Share important documents, log-in information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas.
  • Be sure to appoint one family member to serve as the point of contact with hostage-takers, media, U.S. and host country government agencies, and Members of Congress, if you are taken hostage or detained.
  • Establish a proof of life protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones can know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax).
  • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them.
  • Erase any sensitive photos, comments, or other materials from your social media pages, cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices that could be considered controversial or provocative by local groups.
  • Leave your expensive/sentimental belongings behind.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for South Sudan.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations, such as this Traveler’s Checklist.
  • The United States Embassy in Juba is located in Juba Na Bari, which is also known as TongPing, North of the Ministries complex, next to the European Union compound.
  • The United States Consulate General in the city of Juba opened in 2005. It was transformed into an Embassy on July 9, 2011, when the Republic of South Sudan became Independent.

On July 12, 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its vaccination suggestions when visiting South Sudan in central Africa.

This area has been confronted with an extensive Ebola Zaire outbreak, as well as measles, chikungunya, dengue, polio and typhoid outbreaks during 2019.

The CDC says to ‘get travel vaccines and medicines prior to departure because there are risks of these diseases in South Sudan.’

In addition to Routine Vaccinations, the CDC suggests the Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever vaccines as well.

This CDC Travel Notice says you will need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria.

South Sudan travel news published by Vax-Before-Travel


Article by
Dani Reiter