What the U.S. State Department Can and Can’t Do for You in a Crisis

from http://www.defense.gov/photos
A survivor of the Korean Airline crash is moved from an evacuation helicopter to the U. S. Naval Hospital by Navy medical personnel, flight crew, and civilian volunteers on Aug 6, 1997. U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, and numerous civilian rescue teams, currently assisting in the search and rescue efforts of KAL flight 801, evacuated survivors from the crash site during the early morning of August 6th. DoD photo by Airman Troy R. Wegleitner, U.S. Navy.

Recent natural disasters and civil unrest overseas have resulted in evacuation warnings to U.S. citizens from the U.S. State Department. But many travelers don’t know just how much help they can expect from the U.S.government when they are trying to leave a country in crisis.

According to the official website, the State Department offers assistance based on the nature of the crisis. Their responsibilities range from providing information on the current conditions in a country to, in more serious situations, providing departure assistance if the resources are available. For example, the U.S. government recently issued an evacuation warning to U.S. citizens in Japan as the nuclear crisis escalated, and sent chartered planes to take U.S. citizens out of the country or relocate them to safe areas.

Amy Mullen is a writer and editor. She would rather travel than breathe. Unfortunately, the former can not replace the latter to sustain life, and also interferes with paying her bills, so she goes wherever she can, whenever she has the means. Her travel talents include getting lost in the Tokyo subway system, finding the cheapest beer in Reykjavik, and mistaking a brothel in Singapore for a karaoke bar with one of her favorite sisters.