Jordan Country Report
Due to its location in a highly volatile region, surrounded by the political instability in Lebanon and open conflict in Syria and Iraq, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (population 10 million) remains exposed to a variety of risks that travelers to the country should consider before embarking on any trip.
Jordan has faced a heightened threat of terrorism since the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in mid-2014. Since then, the kingdom has intensified security measures throughout the country, as well as on its borders, to mitigate the risk of terrorists infiltrating from neighboring countries. IS leaders have called their fighters to carry out attacks against Jordan due to its participation in the international coalition fighting the terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria. Given the frequent cross-border fighting near the Syrian-Jordanian border, the Syrian conflict threatens the security of the kingdom. Israeli and Jordanian security forces have been on high alert since summer 2015 as several southern tribal groups recently pledged allegiance to IS.
Suspected IS militants launched an attack at a popular tourist destination, the Karak Castle (located in the city of Al-Karak, 120 km [75 mi] southwest of Amman), on December 18, 2016. Four gunmen attacked a group of police officers on patrol and took several civilians hostage. By the time the incident was brought under control, five police officers and four civilians were killed, including a Canadian national. IS claimed responsibility for the attack. On December 21, four more police officers were killed near Al-Karak during a counterterror operation linked to the December 18 incident. No attacks have occurred since the incident; however, security forces have regularly dismantled terrorist cells leading to sporadic clashes.
Areas along the border with Syria and Iraq are particularly volatile and the areas should be avoided. In June 2016, a suicide bombing near the Ruqban refugee camp (close to the Syrian border) killed seven people. The attack was claimed by IS. In mid-October, the group carried out a second attack at the camp, killing three people.
Over the past few years, Jordanian authorities have faced increasing crime rates across the entire country, including in Amman. Most crimes perpetrated against foreigners involve property theft.
Carjackings have been reported in Amman. Victims are usually lured out of their cars following a minor collision or another vehicle blocking their route. If involved in an accident in an isolated area, stay in your car and call the police.
While the rate of sexual assault targeting foreign women remains low, there have been an increase in reported cases since 2015. Female visitors and residents should take care when walking or traveling alone. Women are advised to dress conservatively.
The high rates of corruption and poverty prevailing in certain regions (15 percent of the population lives below the poverty line) engender resentment against the government, which can be exploited by militant Salafi groups (as is the case in the south, notably in Ma'an).
A considerable influx of Syrian refugees (officially more than 600,000) has had a major effect on the demographic and economic makeup of the kingdom, now obliged to devote significant resources to this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. It is advisable to avoid the Mafraq and Zaatari refugee camps.
Anti-Israel protests erupted in Jordan after US President Donald Trump recognized Israel as the capital of Israel in December 2017. Protests are likely to continue in the coming months. While uncommon, demonstrations related to socioeconomic issues can also occur.
Though most protests remain peaceful, clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out. Foreign nationals are advised to stay away from any form of demonstration or public gathering.
Though travel conditions remain good in urban areas, road transportation presents a high risk for travelers in rural areas due to erratic driving habits and poorly maintained infrastructure. Road accidents are frequent.
It is advisable to travel with licensed taxis whenever possible. Use of public transportation is not advised due to generally unsafe conditions.
Police often carry out random security checks on the street and at checkpoints. Keep identification documents on hand at all times.
There is no railway system in Jordan.
It should be noted that Jordan is located in an active seismic zone. Minor earthquakes occur with moderate frequency. The last major earthquake to strike occurred in 1927.
Jordan also faces flooding on a regular basis, especially in northern areas. Dust storms can also occur, leading to decreased visibility and transportation disruptions.
Temperatures in summer months can be very high. Drink plenty of water and use high-sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen.
In winter, heavy snow can disrupt transportation, especially around Petra.
Rolling power outages occasionally occur, especially during extreme heat when the demand for electricity exceeds the country's production capacity.
Local laws reflect the fact that Jordan is an observant but tolerant Islamic country. Visitors should respect local traditions and dress modestly to avoid inadvertently causing offense, especially during the holy month of Ramadan (mid-May to mid-June in 2018) or at religious sites.
Alcohol is sold in shops and restaurants but alcohol consumption is forbidden in public places.
It is forbidden to photograph government buildings and military installations.
While Jordanian law does not explicitly prohibit homosexual acts, Jordan is a conservative society and public displays of affection between homosexual couples are considered taboo.
All visitors are advised to subscribe to travel health insurance that covers the cost of repatriation and any medical treatment abroad. High-quality medical care is available in Amman, but may not be available in other areas. Immediate cash payment is often required for medical treatment.
Gastric issues are common among visitors who are not accustomed to local bacteria. Do not drink tap water; drink bottled water instead and avoid drinks served with ice. Avoid eating ice cream, sherbet, and raw or undercooked dishes, especially meat or fish, if possible. Bring anti-diarrheal medication with you and remember to wash your hands carefully before each meal.
There are cases of animal rabies in the country. The main line of defense against rabies is to avoid contact with unfamiliar mammals (e.g. street dogs and cats). If you are scratched or bitten, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Cutaneous leishmaniosis is present in Jordan, particularly during sandfly season from May to October. Preventive measures are recommended to protect against insect bites.
There are sporadic outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in Jordan. MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS‐CoV). Typical MERS symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, have also been reported. Approximately 36 percent of reported patients with MERS have died.
Jordan's climate for the most part is semi-arid, although it is fully arid in the east of the country. Summers are hot and dry with scorching temperatures between May and September. Winters are cool, even cold, in certain areas; snow sometimes falls at higher elevations. The country receives most of its annual rainfall between November and February. Spring and autumn are mild and pleasant.
Useful NumbersCountry Code: +962 Police: 191 Fire Dept.: 199 Ambulance: 199
Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz
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TIMEFRAME: from 1/30/2018, 12:00 AM until 1/31/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Amman).
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TIMEFRAME: from 1/29/2018, 12:00 AM until 2/5/2018, 11:59 PM (Asia/Amman).