By Laura Hampson – 19.11.2019
A new interactive map has revealed the world’s most dangerous countries for 2020.
This year’s Travel Risk Map, created by global risk experts International SOS, ranks the safety of countries across three different criteria: medical, security and road safety.
For the security section, countries receive a rating out of five and are placed into one of five bands – ranging from having an ‘insignificant’ security risk to an ‘extreme’ security risk.
Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and part of Ukraine was listed as being an extreme travel security risk.
International SOS says of countries with extreme travel security risks: “Government control and law and order may be minimal or non-existent across large areas. Serious threat of violent attacks by armed groups targeting travellers and international assignees. Government and transport services are barely functional. Large parts of the country are inaccessible to foreigners.”
On the other end of the spectrum, many Nordic countries were placed in the lowest, ‘insignificant’ risk band including Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Denmark. European nations, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Slovenia were also classed in the safest band.
International SOS says of countries in the insignificant category: “Rates of violent crime are very low. There is no significant political violence or civil unrest and little sectarian, communal, racial or targeted violence against foreigners. Security and emergency services are effective and infrastructure is sound. Transport services are of a high standard with good safety records and only occasional travel disruption. Industrial action affecting essential services is rare.”
The UK and most of Europe was classed as having a ‘low’ travel risk, which also included China, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina among others.
Countries with the highest travel security risk
- South Sudan
- Central African Republic
- Part of Ukraine
Countries with the lowest travel security risk
The Travel Risk Map also shows the countries with the highest travel medical risk and the highest road safety risks. The UK is found in the lowest risk band for both of these categories – meaning quality medical care is found throughout the country and the mortality rate for road crash deaths is low.
Countries with a high travel medical risk have almost non-existent or over-taxed healthcare. International SOS continues: “There may be very limited or no primary care, emergency care or dental services. Quality prescription drugs are frequently unavailable. Food and water-borne infections are common. Potentially life-threatening infectious diseases such as malaria and cholera may be persistently present and large outbreaks may occur.”
Venezuela, Haiti, Niger, Libya and many western African nations fall into ‘very high’ risk category for travel medical risks, as does North Korea and Afghanistan. Most European countries are considered to be a low to medium medical risk besides Kosovo which is listed as ‘high’ risk.
International SOS used the World Health Organization’s Global status report on road safety 2018 to analyse the road safety of countries around the world and found Vietnam, Thailand, Belize, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Namibia and many other Africa nations pose the highest road safety risk.
The UK and most countries in Europe were among the countries with the lowest road death tolls, alongside Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Egypt.