Expat dos and donts during the hurricane season

Expat dos and donts during the hurricane season

Expat dos and donts during the hurricane season

Many hot, humid countries are subject to attacks by hurricanes and their accompanying disasters including floods and mud slides.

Given that a good proportion of would-be expats give the home country’s chilly, wet weather as a major reason for emigration, exactly how many think to check their chosen destination for hurricanes and their often devastating side effects? In Asia, these terrifying freaks of nature are known as typhoons or cyclones, but don’t be misled as they’re simply dangerous mega-storms by another name.

The Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean archipelagos are regularly hit by hurricanes, but the ‘top ten’ vulnerable countries list includes a few surprises for those for whom geography wasn’t a favourite subject at school. Cuba, Japan, China, Australia, Vietnam and Taiwan all get hit on a regular basis, and the Philippines is an absolute favourite for howling winds, floods, mud slides and rural devastation.

So, what must newly-arrived expats do when the hurricane season looms, apart from being glued to all forms of weather forecasts and checking their private health insurance? It’s fair to say that not all hurricanes are the civilisation-destroyers recently seen in vulnerable regions during the summer of 2017, but proper preparation is still the best way forward. Stocking up before the season arrives on non-perishable, tinned foods and bottles of water, buying a camping stove, enough bottled gas to last and battery powered lights is common sense, as is stocking spare batteries and torches just in case.

A first-aid kit is an essential, as treating injuries at home is preferable to attempting to get to professional help in a force 5 storm, and learning the basics of first aid including what you can’t or shouldn’t do is another must. Keep track of evacuation procedures once a hurricane warning has been given, but stay in your home until you’re told to leave. Staying clear of windows is common sense, even if you’ve boarded them up in advance. Once it’s finally quiet out there, don’t just rush out to inspect the damage, as it might just be the eye of the storm passing over. Wait until you’re told it’s safe to go outside, survey the chaos, start the clean-up and blame it all on global warming.

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