Messages from the Embassy
The American Citizen Services unit of the United States Embassy Dhaka periodically sends messages to U.S. citizens who enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The primary methods for sending messages to our enrolled U.S. citizens are through emails and/or short text messages (SMS). In the absence of functional telecommunications systems during a disaster, the Embassy will disseminate important messages to U.S. citizens by means of the Warden System. Wardens assist the Consular Section by alerting U.S. citizens to emergency situations and passing on information from the Embassy or the Department of State. The Consular Section relies on dedicated individuals to volunteer to provide this invaluable service to their fellow U.S. citizens. If you will be in Bangladesh for an extended or indefinite period of time and would like volunteer to serve as a warden, please contact the ACS Unit at DhakaACS@state.gov.
Recent messages from the U.S. Embassy
General Strikes or Hartal in Chittagong District on Wednesday, September 25 and Thursday, September 26, 2013
Transport workers and Chatra Shibir, have planned strikes or hartals in the Chittagong District on Wednesday, September 25 and September 26, 2013. In light of these demonstrations and transportation disruption in the Chittagong area, the U.S. Embassy is taking a prudent approach to ensure the safety of all of its employees. As such, non-essential travel of U.S. government personnel in Chittagong is being restricted until 18:00 on September 26. In addition, American Citizen Services and Consular outreach activities planned in Chittagong for September 25 and 26, 2013, have been postponed.
A hartal is a mass protest, and can involve a total shutdown of the country. It is a recognized political method for articulating any political demand. Hartals can turn violent if the population, or political groups, enforce the shut down. Violence can also occur the evening/night before a hartal. We advise all U.S. citizens to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary travel to that part of the country.
Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.
Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Bangladesh enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Regularly monitor the State Department's website at http://travel.state.gov, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Bangladesh at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_4965.html. For additional information, refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" on the State Department's website.
Contact the U.S. Embassy, Dhaka for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter at https://mobile.twitter.com/travelgov and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/travelgov, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-traveler/id442693988?mt=8 to have travel information at your fingertips.
The regular work week for the American Citizen Services Unit is Sunday through Wednesday, 08:00-16:00 hours. Emergency American Citizens Services are available at all times. The U.S. Embassy in Dhaka is located at Madani Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh 1212, and by telephone at (88) (02) 882-3805 during regular hours. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is (88) (02) 885-5500. For after-hours emergency services please press “0” and ask for the duty officer.
Please monitor the local media for updates. English language local news is available on the following channels at the following times:
10:00 a.m., 4:00
p.m., 10:00 p.m. and 11:45 p.m.
ATN Bangla: 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
ATN News: 7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.
NTV: Airs the VOA program “Washington Barta” every Friday at 00:30 a.m.
Bangla Vision: 6:00 p.m.
Boishakhi: 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Maasranga: 5:00 p.m.
Independent: 10:00 p.m.
Diganta: 6:00 p.m.
ABC Radio: Broadcasts English bulletins at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Worldwide Travel Alert
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula. Current information suggests that al-Qa'ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August. This Travel Alert expires on August 31, 2013.
Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.
We continue to work closely with other nations on the threat from international terrorism, including from al-Qa'ida. Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.
We recommend U.S. citizens register their travel plans with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens Traveling abroad enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State's Internet website at travel.state.gov where the Worldwide Caution, Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. Download our free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes or Google Play, to have travel information at your fingertips.
In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).
August 26, 2013: Message for U.S. citizens:
ACS Window Closed on September 1, 2013 Sunday, in observance of American Labor Day, an American holiday.