Earthquakes cannot be predicted and there is no comprehensive protection against them. However, you can take the following personal precautions when travelling to an earthquake-prone area.
Before starting your journey, you may wish to find out if your destination is often affected by earthquakes. Further down this page you will also find maps and a selection of countries particularly at risk from earthquakes. When travelling to an area recently hit by a major earthquake, ask your tour operator or the local authorities or media about the situation on the ground and what are the consequences for you planned travel.
The recommended response during and after an earthquake abroad is no different from the behaviour recommended in the event of seismic activity in Switzerland (see "What to do?"). When staying in coastal areas you should pay special attention to the possibility of tsunamis. If you feel seismic tremors on a flat stretch of coast, move to higher ground inland as quickly as possible. Even more distant earthquakes can cause tsunamis close to where you happen to be. Heed and follow the instructions issued by the local authorities and find out in advance about local tsunami warning systems and escape or evacuation routes. Leave your place of refuge only after the local authorities have sounded the all clear, since more waves may follow initial ones, sometimes only after a lengthy time lag.
Here is an overview of the various official tsunami warning service providers: itic.ioc-unesco.org
Ninety percent of earthquakes worldwide occur along the so-called 'Ring of Fire'. This makes it the most seismically active region and affects regions on the West Coast of South, Central and North America as well as Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, the South Seas and New Zealand.
In Europe, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, the Balkan states, Iceland and Romania are particularly earthquake prone. Switzerland, like Portugal and Spain, is subject to a moderate earthquake hazard. Countries like Germany, Norway and Great Britain are at little risk of seismic activity, although earthquakes cannot be completely ruled out in these regions either.