Sri Lanka Attacks: The Latest Information Travelers Should Know

Apr 23, 2019

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Two days after hotels and churches in Sri Lanka were targeted in a series of bombings that killed more than 300 people on Easter Sunday, officials in the capital city, Colombo, were warned to look out for vehicles carrying explosives on Tuesday.

“All police stations in the Sri Lankan capital … have been advised to be on high alert for a truck and van suspected to be carrying explosives,” CNN reported Tuesday morning, citing a spokesperson for the Colombo police.

Per police orders on Tuesday, “Anyone parking a car on the street and leaving unattended must put a note with their phone number on the windscreen,” the AP reported.

On Monday, a booby-trapped van was discovered and detonated by authorities near one of the churches that was attacked by suicide bombers on Sunday, St. Anthony’s Shrine, according to CNN.

Security measures have been tightened across the country. Post offices are no longer accepting prewrapped packages, and military officials were also given, “war time powers,” according to the AP, as Sri Lanka was put under a state of emergency Tuesday.

The US Department of State issued a new travel warning on Sri Lanka due to the threat of terrorism. “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka,” the warning states. “Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets [and] shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports and other public areas.”

The State Department’s travel alert on Sri Lanka is “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution” out of a possible four levels. Many countries popular with US tourists have a Level 2 warning for various reasons. These countries include the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, France, Mexico and Spain.

Despite the persistent threats, flights to and from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) are operating as scheduled. But many airlines are urging passengers departing CMB to arrive at least four hours before their flight departure time due to heightened security.

For example, Emirates issued the following warning to passengers: “Due to heightened security measures at Bandaranaike International Airport, Emirates urges its passengers in Sri Lanka to arrive at the airport at least four hours before their flight departure this week.”

And several airlines that fly into Sri Lanka have been offering travel waivers, so that passengers can change or cancel their flights without fees. The following airlines are among those that have issued some form of travel waiver for Sri Lanka: AirAsia, Air India, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, IndiGo, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.

If you don’t see your airline listed but are still interested in changing or cancelling your upcoming flight to Sri Lanka, it might be worth contacting the credit card company with which you booked the tickets to see if the travel protection coverage would apply.

Featured photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images.

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