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CESO Safety and Security Alerts

Message from CESO President and CEO Wendy Harris:

CESO is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of its Volunteer Advisors on assignment. Emergency planning and procedures are integral to our operations.

CESO works closely with in-country staff and Canadian embassies to monitor local conditions and to maintain regular contact with all Volunteer Advisors to ensure their safety and security. When cases of risks and/or emergencies arise, CESO in-country staff will immediately notify CESO’s Canadian office to ensure the organization proactively responds and determines whether assignment activities can proceed as planned.

When Volunteer Advisors are on assignment in a region where a safety or security issue has occurred, we will post about it on this page and send an email to all VAs with updates on the situation, as needed.


Attempted coup in Ethiopia (June 22, 2019)

We have confirmed the safety of our VAs and staff in Ethiopia after an  attempted coup against the government of the Amhara region on June 22, 2019. Four political and military leaders were killed in Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa. The coup failed and the situation is now calm and under control in Addis.

All CESO staff and VAs in Ethiopia are safe. We will continue to monitor the situation and will let you know if the situation changes.

Unrest in Benin (June 18, 2019)

We have confirmed the safety of our Volunteer Advisors (VAs) and staff following the unrest in Benin.

Benin faced post-electoral violence in the streets of Savé and Tchaourou, two communities in the central region of Benin. Calm is now returned after five days of clashes between government forces and political opponents, supporters of the former president, Thomas Boni Yayi.

All CESO staff and VAs in Benin are safe. We will continue to monitor the situation and will let you know if the situation changes.

Cyclone near Tanzania (April 25, 2019)

Our Volunteer Advisors (VAs) and staff are confirmed safe today as Cyclone Kenneth moves toward flood-battered Mozambique and southern Tanzania.

Authorities in Tanzania have ordered evacuations of residents from low-lying areas and the closure of some schools and offices before the cyclone hits, the media has reported.

Specifically, CESO staff inform us that our VA in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is safe as the cyclone continues on its destructive path.

The storm is significant and may bring winds of up to 200 kph later today. Three people were killed in the East African island nation of Comoros overnight as the cyclone brought winds of 140 kph.

CESO will continue to monitor the situation and inform its VAs and staff should there be any changes or developments. We send our condolences to those who have lost family or friends or have been impacted by the cyclone.

Earthquake in the Philippines and Landslide in Colombia (April 23, 2019)

We have confirmed the safety of our Volunteer Advisors (VAs) and staff following recent events in the Philippines and Colombia.

The first of two powerful earthquakes shook the largest island of the Philippines, where at least 15 people have died. The media reports that a 6.1 magnitude earthquake damaged several buildings on Monday in Porac, about 110 km north of Manila. A stronger earthquake, with a 6.5 magnitude, struck in Samar in the southern Philippines today, the U.S. Geological Survey has said in media reports.

Colombia’s disaster relief agency reports that 28 people have died following weekend landslides in the country’s southwestern province of Cauca. Heavy rains caused the landslide early on Sunday morning in a rural area of Rosas municipality.

All CESO staff and VAs in both countries are safe and were not injured. We express our condolences to all families and friends impacted by these tragedies.

Ethiopian Airline Crash (March 11, 2019)

By now you know the tragic news of the 157 people who died Sunday in a plane crash near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city.

While no Volunteer Advisors or staff from CESO were on board, many of the passengers from more than 30 countries were affiliated with United Nations work or from several NGOs. Among the victims were 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians and seven Britons, the BBC reported today.

We send our condolences to all the families, colleagues and friends of all on board the flight.

Bogotá, Colombia (January 18, 2019)

CESO regularly monitors the safety and security of our Volunteer Advisors (VAs) and staff. We want to inform you of recent violence in Colombia, where we have staff members working and one VA on the ground.

On January 17, 2019, a car bomb exploded in front of a police academy in Bogotá, Colombia, killing 21 people and injuring 68. Our VA in the city of Medellin, Colombia, is safe as are our in-country representatives.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will remain in constant contact with the country representatives and the VA in the area.

CESO’s commitment to the security and safety of our staff and VAs is paramount in all we do in the world.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Burkina Faso (Jan. 17, 2019)

CESO has decided to temporarily withdraw its Volunteer Advisors (VAs) currently in Burkina Faso and to suspend future deployment there until safety and security levels improve.

We have notified our three VAs in the West African country and they are returning home in the coming days.

CESO’s commitment to the security and safety of our staff and VAs is paramount in all we do in the world. News of a murdered Canadian mining executive and a Canadian tourist missing since December has elevated our safety concerns. CESO’s decision is also based on the Global Affairs Canada travel advisory to “avoid non-essential travel to Burkina Faso due to the threat of terrorism.”

We will monitor the situation and the alert levels as determined by Global Affairs Canada before considering when, and whether, CESO will deploy its people to Burkina Faso.

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CESO thanks and gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Global Affairs Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and our private-sector supporters.