Surviving disasters abroad and solving crisis while traveling


Surviving disasters abroad and solving problems while traveling

Table of content

  • What to do during a hurricane, typhoon or cyclone,
  • how dangerous are strong winds
  • What to do do during a volcano eruption,
  • How dangerous is climbing an active volcano?
  • What to do during an earthquake?
  • How dangerous are earthquakes?
What should you do in a hurricane, typhoon or cyclone, and how dangerous are strong winds?

What should you do in a hurricane, typhoon or cyclone, and how dangerous are strong winds?

cyclone hurricane cloud

What are the travel destinations with the most hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones, and when is the hurricane season?

Note: storms don't care much about storm seasons, they can occur earlier or later depending on annual climate variations (and accompanying water temperatures). Climate change makes predicting these extreme storms also more difficult

  • Caribbean: Hurricane season: June 1 - November 30, with most storms forming in September and October. Islands of Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Cuba and Dominican republic are more likely to be struck than Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao
  • United States (including Hawaii): Hurricane Season: June 1 - November 30
  • Mexico: Hurricane Season: May 15 - November (East Pacific) or June 1 - November 30 (Atlantic/Caribbean)
  • Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, China: Typhoon season: Year Round
  • Philippines: Typhoon season: Year Round, peaking in May to November
  • Australia: Cyclone season: November to April
  • Madagascar: Cyclone season: November 15 - April 30, with peak activity in February

Check beforehand whether your country of residence has an official site with reliable information in regards to natural disasters.

  • are hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones common in your country of living?
  • in which months is the highest activity of typhoons?
  • what are the most common areas impacted?

What should you do before a hurricane, typhoon or tropical cyclone?

  1. When booking a visit to a hurricane destination during storm season be aware of the risks, accommodation might be cheap, but it comes with a prize
  2. Inspect your house for possible repairs (esp. roof).
  3. Clean drainage to avoid clogging.
  4. Store supplies; food, water, flashlight, batteries, and medical supplies. Canned goods are ideal for food.
  5. When living in a hazard prone or risk area, you should evacuate as early as possible.
  6. Keep up-to-date with the weather forecast (radio/tv/internet).
  7. When living in a flood prone area, move electric appliances to safe, high-up areas.

What should you do during a hurricane, typhoon or tropical cyclone?

  1. Stay inside and stay calm. Avoid travel.
  2. Keep up-to-date with the weather forecast (radio/TV/internet).
  3. Don't operate electric appliances during flood.
  4. Avoid wading through flooded areas to avoid water-transmitted diseases.
  5. Close the windows and turn off the main power switch.
  6. Avoid the way leading to or along the river.

What should you do after the storm struck?

  1. Keep up-to-date with the weather forecast (radio/tv/internet).
  2. If your house was damaged, make sure that it is already safe and stable when you enter.
  3. Watch out for live wires or outlet immersed in water.
  4. Boil water before drinking it to avoid diseases.
  5. Do not let water accumulate in tires, cans or pots to avoid creating a favorable condition for mosquito breeding that can cause dengue.

What are cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms and typhoons, and what's the difference?

  • Hurricanes, tropical storms and typhoons are forms of a tropical cyclone. They are extreme storms that arise above the sea in tropical areas, and are characterized by rare strong winds, very hard rain and sometimes a lot of damage. They often last several days to sometimes one or two weeks. Tropical cyclones can be up to 1000 km wide, and move depending on local weather conditions
  • A tropical storm is the weakest form of a cyclone.
  • The words hurricane, cyclone and typhoon mean the same thing but are used depending on where the storm originates. Above the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere we speak of hurricanes. Above the western half of the Pacific Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere we speak of a typhoon. Above the Indian Ocean and in the Bay of Bengal we speak of a Cyclone.
  • A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air at the bottom of a thundercloud. A tornado is no wider than 3 km and lasts less long than a cyclone. This column of air is often visible as a trunk because water vapor condenses into clouds. A tornado also often becomes visible because it causes damage and you therefore see objects, such as sand, leaves and branches, flying through the air.
what should you do during a volcano eruption, and how dangerous is climbing an active volcano?

what should you do during a volcano eruption, and how dangerous is climbing an active volcano?


In which countries do volcanic eruptions occur?

  • Most volcanoes lie on fault lines where tectonic plates meet. These areas with active volcanoes are usually also places with an increased risk of earthquakes
  • The other volcanoes are located in so-called 'hotspots'; this type of volcano can for example be found in Iceland, Hawaii, Ethiopia and Reunion.
  • The largest numbers of active volcanoes are found in Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, the east coast of the US, Ecuador and Chile.
  • Active volcanoes attract many visitors every year who want to see, feel and smell, sometimes up close, what a volcano actually is. Popular volcanoes to visit include: Kīlauea (Hawaii), Etna (Italy), Merapi (Indonesia), Villarica (Chile), Cotopaxi (Ecuador), Volcán de Fuego (Guatemala) and Aso (Japan)

How can you prepare for a possible volcanic eruption?

  • Volcanic eruptions, especially large ones, can now be predicted quite well by volcanologists
  • The dangers and frequency of eruptions vary by volcano type, year and location
  • The authorities involved usually have extensive evacuation plans in place and also a warning system for residents
  • When you visit an area with an active volcano, you can obtain information locally about these plans and systems

What are the dangers of a volcanic eruption?

There are major differences between one volcanic eruption and another. Although lava can look spectacular, it is certainly not the biggest danger during an eruption

  • Flying, red-hot rocks and steam: Small eruptions can sometimes eject red-hot material and steam from the crater at high speed. These types of explosions are especially dangerous if you are on the volcano itself.
  • Lava flows: The speed of a lava flow can vary between extremely slow and as much as 150 km/h. The hotter the lava, the faster it flows, but there are also various geological aspects that determine whether the lava from a particular volcano will flow quickly or less quickly
  • Pyroclastic flow: when an eruption column collapses during an eruption, a devastating pyroclastic flow or 'flare cloud' is created. In fact, the plume of hot ash and rocks rolls down like an avalanche at up to 90 mph. This current is hotter than 100 degrees and destroys everything in its path.
  • Lahar: A lahar is a mudflow of volcanic material, especially volcanic ash. Lahars are formed when ash and pumice stone, from the volcanic eruption, mixes with rainwater or meltwater. A lahar does not necessarily form on a volcano, if enough ash lands on, for example, a distant mountain, a lahar can also form there due to the weight of the ash.
  • Ash rain: All the ash, grit and stones that are shot into the air in a large plume during an eruption, come down again at a certain point, this phenomenon is called an ash rain. The greater the amount of ash, the more nuisance it causes, such as impassable roads and roof collapses.
  • Tsunamis: Some of the volcanoes on the coast or in the sea can cause a tsunami during an eruption.

What can you do if you are caught in a volcanic eruption?

  • Because (large) volcanic eruptions are fairly predictable, it is especially important to follow instructions from local authorities when an eruption is imminent or has occurred.
  • When you are on a volcano during an eruption, there is really little you can do. Try to get away from the volcano as some volcanoes can erupt several times in a row
  • Volcano dust will fall in the wider area around the eruption, cover your mouth and nose to protect your lungs.
  • Also try to protect your eyes as much as possible against the sharp ash particles.

Are you insured for the consequences of a volcanic eruption?

  • Climbing a volcano under the supervision of professional guides will often be covered by your travel insurance.
  • Travel insurance generally does not provide cover if negative travel advice is in force. Only specialized travel insurance for long or special stays abroad can provide a solution here.
  • In the event of an unforeseen volcanic eruption, you are generally insured
What should you do during an earthquake, in which countries do they occur, and how dangerous are earthquakes

What should you do during an earthquake, in which countries do they occur, and how dangerous are earthquakes

earthquake house

In which countries do earthquakes occur frequently?

  • An earthquake cannot be predicted (well), but in certain countries and areas you are much more likely to experience an earthquake
  • In Indonesia and Mexico you have more than 2000 every year! earthquakes
  • In addition to well-known earthquake countries such as Japan and Chile, Guatemala, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Peru are also annually in the top ten of earthquakes per country

How can you prepare for an earthquake?

  •  Check in advance whether your country of residence or residence has an official website with reliable information about natural disasters.
  •  Know the earthquake hazards in the area
  •  Consider the structural integrity of the home
  •  Place furniture and appliances so that they will not fall over if the ground shakes violently
  •  Have an emergency bag/kit for each member of the family
  •  Participate in earthquake drills provided by your employer, educational institution or local government

What to do during an earthquake?

  •  Stay calm, don't panic
  •  Stay indoors if you are already in a structurally sound building or home
  •  If possible, quickly open a door to go outside
  •  Duck under a sturdy desk or table and hold on to it, or protect your head with your arms
  •  Stay away from windows, shelves, cabinets and other heavy objects
  •  Watch out for falling objects. Be alert and keep your eyes open
  •  If you're outside, go to an open space
  •  Stay away from trees, power lines, poles and concrete structures
  •  Move away from steep slopes that could be affected by landslides
  •  If you are close to the coast and feel an earthquake, especially a strong one, quickly move to higher ground to watch for possible tsunamis
  •  If you are in a moving vehicle, stop and get out. Try not to go over bridges, viaducts and viaducts that may be damaged, avoid tunnels

What to do after the earthquake

  •  After the earthquake: take the quickest and safest way out of the building
  •  Do not use elevators, enter damaged buildings, or use telephones unless necessary
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Emigration and living abroad checklist for legal and insurance matters

Emigration and living abroad checklist for legal and insurance matters

checklist legal matters

1. Make use of a legal advisor

  • A scan of your juridical status and the possible risks abroad may be advisable.
  • Check the consequences for inheritance tax, family law, succession rights and matrimonial properties.
  • Possibly get a review of your new international contract (mind the differences in labour law).
  • Check our blog 'How do you assess the reliability of an international insurer?' (in Dutch)

2. Look into the visa requirements & start the visa procedure

  • Expand the basic inventory that you made in the orientation phase.
  • Use online communities and forums, check recent experiences from people who requested the visa and have the same nationality as you do. Double check their advice.
  • Check for everyone if they need a work permit or residence permit, if they meet the requirements for that and which documents are necessary.
  • Some countries have extra requirements, such as medical clearances or police certificates.
  • Arrange a definitive contract or proof of employment with your future employer.
  • Contact the consulate or embassy before you emigrate and (double) check the current state of (visa) affairs.
  • Download all required documents and read the notices.
  • Plan way ahead, visa procedures can take long, up to several years (be flexible in purchasing/selling housing, finding temporary housing etc.).
  • Consider using a visa service company, especially for popular emigration countries.

3. Check which documents you need to legalize

  • Find out if your new country has a treaty with your native country.
  • Find out which documents need translation and into which language.
  • Find out which documents you need to legalize.
  • Provide birth certificates, marriage certificates, evidence of (special) (work) skills, diplomas, recommendation letters.
  • Start on time.

4. Check your insurance policies and ask for advice

  • Create an overview of your current policies, contract terms, contact information.
  • Ask about the consequences of your emigration with regards to current insurance policies and make sure that you terminate them in time.
  • Make sure that you terminate home insurances, property insurances, car insurances etc. at the correct time: not too early (not insured), not too late (double costs).
  • Read up on (international) health insurances. Find orientation on
  • Get information from an insurance expert about:
    • Ending your current health insurance.
    • Whether your new country has treaties with your home country.
    • Whether to get local insurance or not.
    • Whether the insurance provided by your local employer provides enough coverage.
    • Getting international health insurance.
  • Start on time, mindful of  how long medical checks can take to complete.

4. How to prepare documents?

  • Check the validity of all passports. Or arrange passports for family members with a different kind of ID.
  • Also bring: passport photos, drivers licenses (possibly a temporary international driver's license), birth certificates, marriage certificates, last wills, documents on euthanasia, police certificates, divorce papers, death certificates (if your previous partner died), recommendation letters, diplomas, resume/CV, medical files, evidences of being creditworthy, school files, insurance papers, student ID's, medicine recipes and proof of the vaccinations you had.
  • Make an easy-to-find archive for every family member with (copies of) personal documents.
  • Make sure you know about recent developments concerning double nationalities and find out how to extend your passport in your new home country.
  • Consider using an online/digital safe or cloud functionality and give access to your lawyer or someone you trust.
  • Gather receipts of the properties you take with you (proof you own them already, to avoid breaking import laws).
FAQ - Health Insurance when studying in The Netherlands

FAQ - Health Insurance when studying in The Netherlands


When do you need to apply for a basic health insurance when studying in The Netherlands?

  • The Dutch Health Insurance is obligatory for residents of The Netherlands. Students who are temporarily visiting are an exemption, but the moment you're working or getting paid for an internship or voluntary work this might change.
  • If you're an International student and you are just here to study you usually don't need a basic health insurance.
  • The moment you take on a (part time) job you need to get a health insurance however. You can choose any insurer.
  • When you're doing your internship in The Netherlands, you only need to get a health insurance when you're getting paid more than the minimum wage (so it's usually not the case).
  • If you're an independent worker (zzp'er/freelancer) the rules are less clear, and you'll be asked to check with the SVB to do a WLZ check to know if you are obligated to get the basic health insurance.

Can I apply for care allowance (zorgtoeslag) as an International Student?

  • If you are required to get the basic Dutch Health Insurance (basisverzekering) you can also apply for the care allowance.
  • Usually this will cover most of the costs of your monthly insurance payment.

When to apply for private health insurance for your time in The Netherlands.?

  • When you are here for a temporary stay and not getting paid for a part time job, there are still situations when you would like to get a insurance.
  • This can be the case when your own health insurer doesn't cover (enough of) the costs in The Netherlands.
  • You can then apply for a Student Insurance, such as the OOM Studying in The Netherlands insurance.
  • This insurance is not a basic health insurance, so you can't apply for the care allowance. Usually the prices of these insurances are between 20 and 30 euros a month.

Where can I find more information about this?

Why should you take out specialized travel insurance for a long trip abroad?

Why should you take out specialized travel insurance for a long trip abroad?

Why should you take out specialized travel insurance for a long trip abroad?

  • Regular travel or health insurances often only cover trips for a maximum number of days (for example 60, 90 or 180 days). This limits your flexibility!
  • Your health insurance from back home may not offer any coverage abroad or only in specific hospitals.
  • During a long trip you might undertake special activities like paid work or volunteering. Regular travel insurances usually don’t cover these kind of activities. The same goes for adventurous sports like skydiving, scuba diving and bungee jumping.

Volunteer or intern abroad insurances

  • Working as a volunteer or intern offers a great learning experience. Meet new people and make a difference! You will develop your knowledge and skills, as well as that of others. You will gain international skills, contribute to a better world and gain useful experience for on your resume.
  • However, just like at home there is always a chance that something goes wrong during your time abroad. Such as sickness, accidents, stolen luggage and of course things that can go wrong back home that you may ned to return for. 
  • If you have the right travel insurance it will help you financially and offer help when you need it.  On this page you can read about how you can make sure you’re properly insured before, during and after your work as a volunteer.

Why insure specifically as a volunteer or intern abroad?

  • Volunteer projects, foundations , NGOs & local companies typically don’t have suitable insurance. Even if they do, it might only be valid during your time at work and not during your daytrips.
  • Regular travel insurances often don’t cover volunteering abroad or your work as an intern
  • Volunteerwork & internships often involves doing work for which you are not trained or have little experience doing. This might result in a higher chance for accidents.

Why insure medical expenses abroad with an emigration or expat insurance?

  • Being well insured while living or working abroad is important. Sometimes the new country of residence has a good national health care system, but this is certainly not always the case. As an alternative to the national health insurance, an international (expat) insurance is a frequently used replacement, with a number of advantages: international coverage, reimbursements and conditions, often according to high standards, worldwide coverage and flexibility. A number of good and affordable options are listed below.

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Travel insurances and insurances for long term abroad - WorldSupporter Theme
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