Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Lilongwe (Malawi), Fire in Main Market in Old Town

The U.S. Embassy has received reports of potential protests aimed at the response to a large fire this morning at the Main Market in Old Town. Although tensions around the site of the fire appear to be deescalating, the situation remains fluid and unpredictable. The fire consumed many, if not all, of the market stalls and continues to smolder at this time. The area is congested with pedestrians, vehicles, and Malawian emergency response personnel.

The U.S. Embassy has instructed its staff to avoid traveling through in the area south of the M1 and along Malangalanga Road in the vicinity of the Lilongwe Bus Station. The U.S. Embassy also recommends U.S. citizens avoid the area south of the M1 and along Malangalanga Road in the vicinity of the Lilongwe Bus Station.

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.

Please 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.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Malawi 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 nearest U.S. embassy or 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, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Malawi. For additional information, refer to the "Traveler's Checklist" on the State Department's website.

Source: Overseas Security Advisory Council