Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Emergency aid for foreigners?

When a big disaster happens, or even a small one, all the countries immediately set up some kind of emergency aid for their own citizens who happen to be in the area. I am talking mostly about giving out documents to people who have lost theirs and arranging for getting the people home. Funnily enough their webpages and other information never seems to contain any instructions for foreigners who are living in their country. Or, for that matter, for their own citizens who are living abroad.

What is happening now to Americans living in Finland (if any) who happened to lose their documents in the recent tsunami? What about Finns living in the US? What would I have had to do if I were there? Would for example Finnish authorities have issued me some document allowing me to travel back to Finland? Or would they have demanded that I first get a similar document from the US? Or would they have been really bureaucratic and demanded that I get a real US passport before I am admitted back to Finland? Would they have let me on a flight arranged by them?

In general, do any Western countries provide any consular help to their residents who are not their citizens?

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