Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

May 04, 2006

This Public Announcement is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to the upcoming Hurricane Season in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. The official hurricane season runs from June through November. This Public Announcement expires on December 7, 2006.

The National Weather Service predicts that the 2006 hurricane season will be as active as the 2005 season, when 27 named storms and 15 hurricanes caused widespread havoc, billions of dollars in infrastructure damage, and resulted in thousands of fatalities. Many U.S. citizens traveling abroad in the affected regions were forced to delay their return to the United States due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability. In a number of incidents, flights were suspended and passengers faced long delays due to a need to repair a damaged airport. Roads were also washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports. In the event of a hurricane, travelers should be aware that they may not have the means to depart the area for 24-48 hours or more.

Should a situation require an evacuation from an overseas location, the State Department will work with commercial airlines to ensure the safest and most efficient repatriation of U.S. citizens possible. Commercial airlines are the Departments primary source of transportation in an evacuation. Other means of transport are utilized only as a last resort. The Department of State does not provide no-cost transportation but does have the authority to provide repatriation loans to those in financial need. U.S. citizens should consider obtaining travel insurance to cover unexpected expenses during an emergency.

U.S. citizens living in or traveling to storm-prone regions overseas should prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms by organizing a kit containing a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand crank radio, vital documents (especially passport and identification), and a supply of prescription medications. Emergency shelters often have access to only basic resources and limited medical and food supplies.

U.S. citizens should monitor local radio and other media to stay aware of any weather developments in their area. Minor tropical storms can develop into hurricanes very quickly, limiting the time available for a safe evacuation. Travelers should keep in close contact with their tour operator, hotel staff, and local officials for evacuation instructions in the event of a weather emergency.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the Department of States travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov. Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known. While Consular Officers will do their utmost to assist Americans in a crisis, travelers should always be aware that when they are abroad, local authorities bear primary responsibility for the welfare of people living or traveling in their jurisdictions.

Additional information on hurricanes and storm preparedness may be found in the "Hurricane Season-Know Before You Go" pamphlet at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/hurricane_season/hurricane_season_2915.html, and in the "Natural Disasters" page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1207.html. Updated information on travel in the Caribbean may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. Travelers to the region are encouraged to check the Internet site of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with consular responsibilities for the territory they will be visiting (accessible via http://usembassy.state.gov/). For further information please consult the Consular Information Sheet for the country or territory in question, available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.

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