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Pacific Typhoon Season Travel Alert

Issued by US Department of State

Jun 16, 2010

This Travel Alert is being issued to warn U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to East Asia and the West and Central Pacific region about the ongoing threat of typhoons originating in the West and Central Pacific region.  The region covered by this alert includes countries in East Asia and the West and Central Pacific regions north of the Equator.  Typhoons in this area of the Pacific may occur year round; however, historically, the most active months are June through November.  U.S. citizens in the region should monitor local weather reports and take appropriate action as needed.  This travel alert expires on December 1, 2010.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC) predicts a 70 percent chance that activity during the 2010 Typhoon Season will be below normal in the Central Pacific basin.  Each season, the West and Central Pacific region experiences 31 typhoons on average, about half of which have the potential to cause severe destruction.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends that those in typhoon-prone regions be prepared. 

In the past, many U.S. citizens traveling abroad in this area during typhoon season were forced to delay their travel or return to the United States because of infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability.  In many cases, flights were suspended, and passengers faced long delays due to the need to repair a damaged airport.  Roads were also washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas.  In the event of a typhoon, you should be aware that you may not be able to depart an affected area for 24 to 48 hours or more.

In the aftermath of a storm, you may encounter uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous conditions after storms have passed while you wait for transportation back to the United States.  In many places, typhoons are often accompanied by damaging high tides and flooding.  If you are living close to the ocean or other bodies of water, you may be especially at risk.  Landslides and mudslides are also a serious concern during heavy periods of rain.  Looting and sporadic violence sometimes occur after natural disasters but media reports may be exaggerated or otherwise inaccurate.  Be sure to check with local authorities for safety and security updates.  Because of weather conditions or damage to infrastructure, U.S. Embassy and host country security personnel may not be able to assist you at all times.

If the damage in the aftermath of a storm requires evacuation, the State Department and our embassies and consulates overseas work to identify and recommend the safest and most efficient means of travel away from a disaster.  Commercial airlines are the best source of transportation in an evacuation.  The Department arranges other means of transport, including U.S. military support, only as a last resort when commercial transportation is completely unavailable.  In any emergency, you should know that the Department does not provide free transportation but has the authority to provide you a loan to return to the United States if you are in financial need.  If you have not done so already, you should obtain travel insuranceto cover unexpected expenses during an emergency.

If you are living in or traveling to storm-prone regions overseas, you should prepare for typhoons and tropical storms by organizing a kit containing a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and vital documents, including your passport, photo identification, and/or birth certificate, in a waterproof container.  Emergency shelters often have access only to basic resources and limited medical and food supplies.

Be sure to monitor local media to stay aware of weather developments.  For further information on typhoon warnings in the West and Central Pacific region, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu at http://www.usno.navy.mil/JTWCand the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc, as well as Fiji’s regional meteorological center responsible for cyclone warnings in the South Pacific region at http://www.met.gov.fj.

Minor tropical storms can develop into typhoons very quickly, limiting the time available for you to evacuate safely.  Please tell family and friends in the United States of your whereabouts and keep in close contact with your tour operator, hotel staff, and local officials for evacuation instructions in the event of a weather emergency.  Please protect your travel and identity documents against loss or damage, as the need to replace lost documentation could hamper or delay your return to the United States.

We encourage all U.S. citizens abroad to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the Department of State’s travel registration website.  By registering, you can receive the nearest embassy’s or consulate's most recent security and safety updates during your trip.  Registration also ensures that we can reach you during an emergency either abroad or at home.  While consular officers will do their utmost to assist you in a crisis, please be aware that local authorities bear primary responsibility for the welfare of people living or traveling in their jurisdictions. Additional information on cyclones and storm preparedness may be found on the Typhoon Season page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Hurricane Preparedness website.  Updated information on travel in typhoon-prone regions may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada, or from other areas, 1-202-501-4444.  If you travel in the region, please check the U.S. Embassy or Consulate websitewith consular responsibilities for the territory you will be visiting.  For further information please consult the Country Specific Information websitefor the country or territory in question.

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