Full marks to the FCO press office for getting back to me so quickly on my latest request to unpick the broad-brush data in their “British Behaviour Abroad” report – this time with a country-by-country breakdown of the 386 Britons who died accidentally between March 2010 and March 2011. The list is slightly oddly sorted, by number, but easy enough to scan.
The African figures amount to 42 people in 15 countries. Again, like the murder figures in my previous post, it seems a reassuringly small number considering the total number of visits by British passport-holders to all 59 African states and territories. And it’s the same proportion of the global total – 42 out of 386, or 11% – so there seems to be nothing intrinsically out of the ordinary about the safety of travel in Africa.
It’s worth pointing out that these figures include all British passport-holders, whether they stayed for a day or a year, including permanent residents – which presumably explains the relatively high figure from South Africa, home to a sizeable British community.
I don’t have up-to-date British visitor numbers for every country, but South Africa gets about 500,000 British visitors (and has more than 200,000 British residents) and Egypt more than 1 million visitors from the UK. Apart from Kenya, which receives around 200,000 British visitors, and has around 30,000 British residents, the other African countries below each host a few tens of thousands of Brits each year, or in some cases less.
Of course, it’s morbidly fascinating to compare the murder and accidental death figures. Globally, an average of one Briton is murdered abroad for every six who die accidentally. In Spain the ratio is less than 1 in 8, in South Africa it’s 1 in 4, while in Pakistan Brits are five times more likely to be murdered than to die accidentally (11 to 2). Can that really be true?
There’s probably nothing statistically valid about these observations as the numbers are too small, but they’re interesting none the less. And from the African travel perspective, the small numbers have to be good news.
Next FCO request: a country-by-country breakdown of the 2174 “Deaths by Unknown Causes”. Now that seems a high figure.
|Country||Death – Accidental|
|United Arab Emirates||13|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||3|
|British Virgin Islands||1|
|Trinidad & Tobago||1|