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Tips to help your clients through international disasters

Travelling has its perks and every now and then it has its sudden and incredibly frightening downfalls - international disasters being the biggest one.

Travelling has its perks and every now and then it has its sudden and incredibly frightening downfalls – international disasters being the biggest one.

This weekend’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal is a reminder that disaster can strike at anytime either by man or mother nature.

In this case, over 2,500 people are expected to have lost their lives in the tragic quake, a number of which were travellers on the holiday of their dreams.

While search and recovery efforts continue in the destination, Travel Insurance Direct (TID) Travel Safety Specialist, Phil Sylvester offers tips on how to get through international disasters.

Using Nepal as an example, Phil said a key priority should be notifying family and friends back home of your whereabouts.

If you find Wi-Fi, use it! Image: everything possible/Shutterstock

Image: everything possible/Shutterstock

Communication services are often affected during a crisis, but “if you can find a Wi-Fi connection get on Facebook or email.

If for some reason you can’t remember anyone’s email or you’re in a country with a ban on Facebook, Phil suggests emailing TID or agent who can assist in getting in touch with family for you.

There are also other services such as the Red Cross Familylinks, or Google People Finder that also help connect missing people and their families.

turkey earthquake

During a quake try and get away from buildings. Image: Prometheus72 /

Just because the big event has occurred, it doesn’t mean the danger is over.

As seen in Nepal, less than 24 hours after the 7.8 magnitude quake, a 6.7 magnitude aftershock struck the same region, causing further damage.

“As we discovered on Sunday some of the aftershocks can be big – perhaps even bigger than the original trembler.”

Phil Sylvester, Travel Insurance Direct Travel Safety Specialist

During an earthquake or aftershock, Phil says to take shelter under a table, in a doorway or anywhere that is not close to a building or structure that could topple.

His next tips include checking and treating your won injuries first before assisting others; using bottled water or properly purified water because sewage pipes can often break during a quake; wash your hands often; and try and locate a mask to avoid dust respiratory problems.

bottled water

During a quake sewage pipes can burst, so try and find bottled water.

Phil says disease comes soon after any disaster, so be extremely vigilant about good hygiene, and be careful of what food you ingest.

If you need/want to come home, talk to your airline and talk to us. TID can help arrange things for you.

Lastly, make sure to tell the authorities of any plans to leave the destination under your own steam – “lots of people are trying to account for the missing. It will waste effort if they’re looking for you when you’re already safely home”.

What are your tips for getting through an international disaster?