Are you planning a romantic getaway to Fiji or maybe a winter vacation in Peru? Perhaps going to Australia to visit relatives for the holidays? If so, we encourage you to be prepared for the South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season. While tropical cyclones in the South Pacific may occur throughout the year, the current South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season begins today, November 1, 2017, and ends April 30, 2018. Ignoring or underestimating a cyclone can have devastating consequences.
Before travelling to the South Pacific region during cyclone season, be sure to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to be located in an emergency. Learn about the country to which you are traveling, including visa requirements, local laws, customs, and medical care. Check for up-to-date safety and security information about your destination. Consider purchasing emergency evacuation insurance and be aware of any health precautions that are in effect for the country. For additional information to help prepare for your trip, visit our Traveler’s Checklist webpage.
Once you are at your South Pacific destination, there are many things you can do to be prepared for a cyclone. This includes obtaining sufficient food and clean water for every member of your family for about two weeks. If you have a baby or small children, stock up on food, diapers, wipes and clothing changes. Don’t forget about planning for your pet’s needs too! Let your family and friends back home know where you are and what plans you have made should you need to get out of harm’s way. It may help to let them know you may be out of contact should phone and power lines go down. Listen to local radio and television stations for updated cyclone information and pay attention to the local authorities’ security and evacuation instructions. For additional information about crisis preparedness, please visit our webpage What Can You Do in a Crisis Abroad.
If you are involved in an emergency situation requiring medical attention or police assistance, the first thing you should do is contact the local authorities directly if you can. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if you need emergency help - but please keep in mind that this will not alert emergency responders. While we do our best to assist U.S. citizens in a crisis, local authorities bear primary responsibility for the safety and well-being of people living or traveling in their countries. For more information, please visit our What the State Department Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis page.
Be informed. Be prepared. Be connected. Be safe.
About the Author: Susan Fitch is a Citizens Services Specialist in the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.