Wednesday, July 19, 2006

American Government Charging Their Citizens to Evacuate Lebanon

Written by Staff Tuesday, 18 July 2006

American citizens caught in the crossfire of the week-old middle east conflict may be in for another shock as they prepare to board ships sent by their government to transport them out of harm's way. The trip isn't free.

Rumours have been circulating around pockets of American citizens in Lebanon awaiting instructions from the U.S. government regarding specific departure plans that they will be limited to a small suitcase and will be responsible for paying $300 for passage out of the war zone.

Apparently the rumours are true. According to the American State department website, the U.S. government does not provide free transportation in emergency situations including war. To make matters worse, once the evacuees arrive on the nearby island of Cyprus, they are responsible for securing their own flights out of Cyprus to the U.S. The State Department will provide assistance if needed in locating the necessary flights but all evacuees are stuck with the final bill.

The State Department does however provide 'loans' to those who cannot pay the necessary fees. Their policy states that "repatriation loans" are provided to those in need. Recipients of these loans are required to sign a note of promise at time of departure and the U.S. government will send them a bill at a later date.

Not all nations charge their citizens for emergency evacuation from a war-torn country. Canada's Consular Affairs website provides an extensive list of services provided to Canadian citizens abroad. Although some services are not free, evacuations in the event of war or civil unrest are provided by the Canadian government free of charge.


Blogger Crystal said...

Yeah, I read about the $3,000 bill that the U.S. gov't is charging the evacuees, and I find that outrageous! In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina many of those people left behind were scared to be rescued by helicopter, because they feared they'd be billed for the courtesy. It's a shame that the Bush Administration never learns their lesson on how to be prepared in times of crises.

3:29 PM  

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