Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Volunteer abroad emergency evacuation
“I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.” ~William Shakespeare. In the last few weeks, there have been violent protests in different countries. The protests have been mainly political. The first was the failed elections in Ivory Coast, followed by violence in Haiti, Tunisia, Egypt and it is spreading through to some of the Arab nations. Apart from these manmade disasters, there are natural ones like the floods in Australia, Brazil and disease out breaks in parts of Africa. Being in such situations the safety and well being of volunteers are under threat. Due to the unrest many countries that are having these problems block the internet, instigate media black outs and impose curfews. In these cases, the volunteers who are abroad should know what emergency procedures on how to evacuate from the country. In the haste and confusion the volunteers should do the following:
While the volunteer is in the host country, they should know the location of their country embassies are and phone numbers. If the volunteer is going to stay for a long period of time they should register with the embassies in order for their governments to know how many of their citizens are touring and travelling. In the event of a natural disaster, and political unrest the volunteers should contact their respective embassies. The embassies will be able to document them, and help them out with their evacuation procedures. They will be there to give advice to the volunteer, and help with travel documents just in case the volunteer has lost their passports.
In most cases, getting information will be difficult. Most governments when they are having such problems they block internet access, ban live television, and sometimes prevent any communication from going through. Calling and texting might also be a problem due to the current problems. Also natural disasters cut out power lines limiting communication. When this happens the volunteer should try to keep abreast with the little information that is available. They should listen to radios, watch television, read newspapers and call home to find out what is going on. With the little information the volunteers have, they will be able to make better decisions. To get news about what is going on the ground they should call home and find out how the situation looks.
With a lot of confusion going on, there is little time to prepare and plan. At this time, things will be done hurriedly and few opportunities open up to leave the country may come and go quickly. The volunteer should be prepared for this. They should have all their things packed and be ready to leave in the next five minutes. It is advisable at these times for the volunteers to carry their passport and travel documents with them all the time. When they are packing they should make sure they have their essentials with them, leaving things they might not need behind. This will make movement much easier. Departing immediately is not easy, especially for those volunteers who have kids but it will be essential for them to be safe.
Unfortunately due to the political problems, many airlines which were scheduled to fly to the country normally cancel their flights. This is a big problem as many people will be trying to get away from the country. This means while you are at the airport there will be a lot of confusion, shoving and other disgruntled passengers. Many governments will provides charter flights to their citizens to a transit location. Recently when travelers were leaving Egypt, Britain, United States, China and many other countries were providing charter planes to their citizens. The governments asked their nationals to pay the fare and which is equivalent to the commercial rates. The citizens are then flown to a nearby country where they are free to leave on their by their own means.
In the event of natural disasters and the volunteers find themselves cut off from the world; they should stay patiently at their location. In the case of flooding and the roads are completely cut off, the volunteers will have no choice but to wait to be rescued. They will have to make due with the little resources they have at their disposal. There are bound to be rescue operations done when the conditions stop being severe. Help will be on the way and the volunteers will be forced to weather the storm