Natural and human-caused disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. Research your destination before traveling to be aware of potential threats and hazards. Start by reading the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory for your destination.
Extreme weather events have increased in frequency and scale due to climate change. Some follow cyclical patterns, while others are less predictable. By researching your destination’s potential risks, climate and weather patterns thoroughly before you travel, you can learn which risks are most prevalent when and pack the appropriate items and clothing. Consider seasonal (and temperature) changes, precipitation patterns (which may cause flooding or drought), the prevalence of monsoons, tornados, tropical cyclones/typhoons/hurricanes, etc. These events may also provoke other disasters, so beware of potential wildfires, avalanches, landslides, and potential harm from damaged infrastructure. You should also note your destination’s terrain and proximity to active volcanoes, mountainous regions, large bodies of water, and fault zones, which may increase the likelihood of earthquakes and/or tsunamis.
Not all disasters are natural. Human caused incidents can occur with little warning and pose significant risk domestically and around the world. Civil unrest, hazardous material spills, fires, infrastructure failure, and targeted violence can and do occur in otherwise stable and secure locations.
Understanding potential threats and hazards, staying informed, and making a plan can help you mitigate potential risks.