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How To Evacuate from Foreign Countries Safely and Effectively

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, we have all realised how vulnerable we are to unforeseen disasters. Regardless of whether we are traveling for work or pleasure, there is always a risk of medical, natural, political, or economic disaster, or a risk of crime. These disasters can happen in even the safest countries – remember the tsunami that devastated popular tourist destinations in Thailand in 2004, leaving thousands of tourists stranded without basic necessities (shelter, medical help, and communication). Most travel insurance policies will not cover these eventualities. 

Evacuating from a foreign country can be an intimidating and frightening process, and expert advice as well as backup is paramount to getting yourself/ your family to safety. Here are some tips for evacuating effectively and safely.

There are three phases of evacuation: i) Prevention; ii) Preparation; iii) Execution

i) It is essential to have an evacuation plan before entering country. This may sound pessimistic but imagine the alternative – trapped and in urgent need of help. You’ll need an expert country-specific assessment of the risks you might face, and the backup support.

ii) A travel bag at the ready, packed with clothing, essential medicine, food, toiletries etc. may prove to be life saving.

iii) This is the actual process of evacuating the country whether under your own steam or facilitated via a third party. Keep in mind, roads and communication infrastructure may be destroyed, and basic transport may be unavailable due to natural disasters or political unrest.

How to prepare for an evacuation 

What to take with you

What you pack for your evacuation can make all the difference. Remember to take important documents, such as passports, identity cards and financial records etc. Include clothing for different climates and essential toiletries in your bag.

When it comes to electronics, you might want to pack a phone and iPad/ laptop charger. 

It is crucial that you have an emergency kit available with food provisions for at least three days if possible (energy bars, bottled water, matches/ lighter, flashlight with batteries), and a first-aid kit with essential medications like aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as any current or prescribed medication you are taking.

What to do in the event of an emergency 

Make yourself aware of the plans and procedures for evacuating your area and consider organising an appropriate backup plan just in case. Get advice specific to the current situation and any urgent services such as medical care and transport in the event of any disaster.

Where can you get expert advice and on-the-ground backup?

TRUM Africa has an excellent Global Emergency Assistance and Response (GEAR) solution that provides the following essential assistance:

  • Direct access to the SPS Global Response Centre (GRC), which is manned by medical and security professionals who provide immediate emergency assistance. 
  • Live location-based alerts, including infrastructure and transport disruptions, natural disasters, civil and political unrest, terrorist threats, and health/ disease risks.
  • Messages from the GRC by email or SMS directly to your smartphone, which is particularly valuable during a crisis where fast and reliable communication is critical.
  • Access to country specific advice, including recommended vaccinations, security and medical information, cultural ‘dos and don’ts’, language, climate, visa and passport requirements, travel and transportation advice, currency converter, public holidays and festivals.
  • Access to detailed country-specific COVID-19 information and advice.
  • A library of medical conditions, which provides details of symptoms, recommended medications, possible side-effects, and treatment.

GEAR provides crucial assistance in the event of natural and man-made disasters; violent crime; political risk, strike, riot, and civil commotion; terrorism; hi-jacking; missing person; detention and extortion; kidnap for ransom; medical emergencies; and repatriation of mortal remains. 

GEAR is available as a once-off policy, suited to people going on holiday, and corporate policies to protect staff working in risky locations.

Whether you are travelling for work or on holiday, peace of mind makes your experience safer and less stressful. A little bit of preparation for possible emergencies makes all the difference. Contact Murray Corbett to find out more about how TRUM Africa’s GEAR policy can protect you, your family and your staff.