Safety and security
The political situation in Lebanon is fragile and has the potential to deteriorate quickly. Regional developments also have the potential to trigger popular unrest.
If you’re in Lebanon, we advise you to exercise extreme caution and to consider your need to remain there, to monitor this travel advice and the local media for updates on the situation.
Political tensions and security concerns are heightened at present as a result of unrest in neighbouring Syria and the wider region. Syrian military forces have made several incursions into Lebanese territory. Protests, sectarian violence and kidnappings of foreigners have occurred throughout the country, particularly in the northern city of Tripoli.
There have been a number of attacks by al Qaeda-linked militants, mainly in the south. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and Lebanese Government interests, particularly the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), have been targeted for attacks by some of the militant groups, some of these involving fatalities.
Unexploded ordnance, particularly in the South, and in the Bekaa Valley, is a risk. Don’t stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact before travelling to affected regions.
Foreign nationals can be potential targets for kidnapping throughout Lebanon, particularly in the northern city of Tripoli and Baalbek or other parts of the Bekaa Valley, where we strongly advise you to keep to the main roads and larger towns.
Protests and Demonstrations
Protest and demonstrations can turn violent with little warning. We strongly advise all Irish citizens in Lebanon to avoid all protests and demonstrations. If caught up in a demonstration Irish citizens should not attempt to take photos and should leave the area immediately.
The risk to tourists from petty or violent crime is low in Lebanon, though vehicle crime is on the increase. You should always take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Lebanon, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact the Honorary Consul in Beirut or the Irish Embassy in Cairo if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Lebanon, you should be extremely careful as the accident rate is high and road standards are variable. If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance. Your international driving permit must be certified by authorities on arrival
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
- Avoid driving outside the main cities at night
The road to the airport can be closed sporadically due to various factors, including local sectarian clashes, civil unrest in Syria and protests against government policies.
If you’re driving your own car in Lebanon, be aware that vehicles with diesel engines are now banned.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:18:08 GMT