Pattaya Daily News

02 September 2008 :: 16:09:44 pm 20466

How to avoid danger during civil unrest

Each year thousands of people around the world are killed or injured in riots or other forms of civil unrest. Civil unrest can occur just about anywhere where there are enough people. The best way to stay safe during these disturbances is to avoid them or evacuate them, as once you?re in the midst of a riot, survival can come down to luck.
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1. Make preparations in advance. Make an evacuation plan that includes where you can go to be evacuated (usually an embassy or an airport) and where you can go if you are unable to get to that place. Make sure all members of your family know the plan. 

            ? Know the locations of police stations, hospitals, embassies and airports in the area. 
            ? Keep a backpack filled with emergency rations and supplies. Keep a small amount of non-perishable food and some bottled water in a backpack. The total weight should not exceed 5 kgs, so you or a family member can easily carry it. 

 ? Keep an emergency credit card, a small supply of cash, and some traveler’s checks with your passport. Make sure you know where your passport and other papers you may need are, and make sure that you can easily get to them. During civil unrest, money can sometimes buy you out of bad situations (a bribe at a roadblock, for example) and will usually be essential to facilitate any evacuation, so it’s good to keep an emergency supply, including a little cash, on hand.

2. Know before you go. While riots can happen anywhere, they’re most common in places that are experiencing palpable tension or upheaval, where the smallest spark can ignite violence. Research conditions in the place you’ll be visiting by reading news stories about the area and checking for travel advisories.If there is a strong possibility of civil unrest, consider postponing or rerouting your trip.

3. Contact your embassy and notify them of your presence. If you’re traveling abroad in an unstable country, call your embassy to register and let them know where you are.

4. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, and get out of an area if warned. In the weeks, days, or hours preceding a riot, residents of an area can often tell that something big is about to happen. If you’re a traveler and local people, police, or consulate staff warn you of the possibility of impending violence, leave the area as quickly as is safely possible. 

5. Avoid large groups of people, especially demonstrations. You need a lot of people to make a mob, so riots are most common in urban areas. The more people you get together in one place, the larger the chance of a riot becomes. Stay away from demonstrations–peaceful protests can quickly turn violent–and, if the atmosphere is already tense, consider avoiding festivals or other events where people crowd together. 

            ? If you know civil unrest is occurring, the best thing you can do is stay far away from it. Do not venture into a riot to gawk or to find out what it’s about. 

            ? Avoid public transportation, especially bus and train stations. These places may become hopelessly–and dangerously–crowded if there is a threat of impending civil unrest. Even airports can become swamped, potentially dangerous places, so it’s best to call the airport or your embassy in advance to check on the situation there. 
            ? Secure your home and business if rioting is imminent. Rioting often brings looting, and looters can pillage and destroy your property. Make sure your doors are locked, and board up all your windows. Remove small valuables to a safer place if possible, since determined rioters will get in just about anywhere. 

            ? During episodes of civil unrest, many people fail to heed warnings to evacuate so that they can protect their homes or businesses. Consider this decision carefully, as it may put you in grave danger. It’s important to remember that if looters strike you will likely be outnumbered, and your attackers may be armed. If you can evacuate, it’s usually better to do so–your property is not worth your life.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Legal

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