Disaster Alert

May 24 2016. views 337

Top tips on dealing with disasters while on holiday... 

The recent floods which wreaked havoc in Sri Lanka caused many to lose their lives and their homes. Being caught up in a disaster in your own country is harrowing enough but what do you do if you are caught up in a disaster when you are on holiday? Thankfully not many tourists in Sri Lanka have been affected by the floods, however it could have been worse. Here are some tips on what you need to do should you be affected by a disaster when you are on holiday. 

Get travel insurance 

We Sri Lankans don’t like to place a premium on travel insurance but it is one worthwhile investment when planning your holiday. Travel insurance may sound expensive and unnecessary but if disaster strikes you will be happy you have it. In the case of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and civil wars hotels and airlines will often to try to avoid reimbursing their clients using the “Act of God” card stating these events are uncontrollable. Therefore airlines and  and hotels are within their legal rights to deny refunds to customers. Travel insurance is an ideal way to ensure a full refund is a cyclone is heading your way and takes you out of your hotel. 

Get in touch with your country’s mission 

Before you embark on your holiday always ensure that you have made a note of the contact details of your country’s embassy or high commision in the country you are visiting. In the case of a disaster or an emmergency you should contact your country’s mission so that they can provide you with help and advice. Keep a scanned copy of your travel documents including passport and birth certificate in your email folder  If you lose your original documents then at least you have photocopies to help you get new travel documents. 

Give your ICE contact to family back home 

Specify your In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact number in advance to your family or travel agent. If anyone is hurt or missing the appropriate people can be contacted. Also keep a hard copy of important phone numbers instead of relying on your cell phone in case your only means of communication are payphones and landlines. Also keep a full copy of your itinerary with someone back home so that they know your whereabouts in an emergency. 

Make a plan 

If a disaster hits while you are travelling your first priority if the safety of you and your family. The American Red Cross recommends making a Disaster Plan including at least two meeting places to meet in case of an emergency. One location should be somewhere other than your hotel. During natural disasters, groups may get separated and channels of communication are often down. If there isn’t a prearranged safe meeting place for your family or travel companion it may take hours or even days to locate everyone. 

Include a Disaster Supply Kit 

It is also recommended that you pack a Disaster Supply Kit to include extra cash for emergency pay phone calls and transportation. You should also include medications and copies of prescriptions in case then need to be accessed quickly. Hard copies of city maps as well as photocopies of travel itineraries, insurance cards and travel documents should also be included in this kit. Include some spare cash in this kit too. 

By Tina Edward Gunawardhana


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