World’s most dangerous countries in 2020

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The world's a dangerous place. From time to time, the UK's a dangerous place thanks to terrorism and violence. Most of the time we can count ourselves lucky to be living in the UK where the murder and manslaughter rate in 2018 was 1.23 per 100,000. Contrast that with the USA, which in the same year had a rate four times higher at 5.0 per 100,000 and you'll have to agree that the UK's a pretty safe place to live. When you head out on holiday or flying out on business, you also want to be safe so which countries should be avoided at all costs?

Travel Risk Map

According to global risk experts International SOS, you need to avoid the following places - Libya, Somalia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Each of these countries is in Africa. Some of the others on the list are easier to understand. Anyone aware of the war on terror will have heard of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan so they won't be surprised to see those countries on the list. The reason the other countries are on the list takes a bit more investigating to understand.


The three criteria used to draw up the list are security, medical and road safety. The first two criteria are scored out of five. Road safety is scored out of four and is based exclusively on the mortality rate per 100,000 people. The four worst nations of Libya, Somalia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic all scored in the lowest band for each of the three criteria. That means they are a very high medical risk, they offer an extreme security risk and each nation has more than 25 road deaths per 100,000.

Travel security

Let's look at each category a little closer so we can understand what's behind the ratings. When evaluating the travel risk, the experts consulted considered terrorism, insurgency, social unrest, major violence and petty crime. The country's transport infrastructure was also a consideration as was any industrial action such as strikes or protests. Finally, natural disasters were also taken into consideration.

Medical risks

Here the risk of contracting a disease is taken into consideration along with the standard of medical care on offer, environmental factors, access to pharmaceutical supplies and administrative barriers. You need to avoid Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Niger, North Korea, Sierra Leone, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen as each are marks as "very high risk".


The news from responders is that they believe their health and safety risks have increased in the past year. At 47%, nearly half of them believe those risks will increase next year. That means there's a lot of fear in travellers which guides their decision on where to holiday and whether to visit clients in those nations.

The worst and best

Most dangerous countries

  • Libya
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Central African Republic
  • Mali
  • Syria
  • Iraq
  • Yemen
  • Afghanistan

Safest countries

  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Luxembourg
  • Slovenia
  • Andorra
  • Svalbard
  • Greenland

The UK

As you'd expect, the UK has a great rating across all three criteria. Medical risk is "low" and the UK is in the bottom band for deaths on the road. The UK was also categorised as a "low" security risk for travellers. Although none of this should surprise you, does it make you feel a little more grateful to live in the UK?

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