Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Preparedness

The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo alerts all U.S. citizens that a hurricane watch is in effect for the south coast of the Dominican Republic from Isla Saona westward to the Haiti-Dominican Republic border. In addition, a tropical storm watch is in effect for the Northern coast of the Dominican Republic from the Haiti-Dominican Republic border eastward to North of Isla Saona. The National Hurricane Center reports that Tropical Storm Isaac could become a hurricane and reach the Dominican Republic by Thursday night or Friday morning.

In the aftermath of some previous storms, U.S. citizens traveling abroad have encountered uncomfortable and often dangerous conditions that have lasted for several days while awaiting transportation back to the United States. In the past, many U.S. citizens have been forced to delay travel due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability. Roads were also washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas. Reports of looting and sporadic violence in the aftermath of natural disasters are not uncommon.

Security personnel may not be readily available to assist at all times. In the event of a hurricane, travelers should be aware that they may not be able to depart the area for 24-48 hours or longer.

If a situation requires an evacuation from an overseas location, the Department of State will work with commercial airlines to ensure that U.S. citizens are repatriated as safely and efficiently as possible. Commercial airlines are the Department’s primary source of transportation in an evacuation; other means of transport are utilized only as a last resort. The Department of State will not provide no-cost transportation, but does have the authority to provide repatriation loans to those in financial need. We recommend that you obtain travel insurance to cover unexpected expenses during an emergency.

If you live in or are traveling to storm-prone regions, prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms by organizing a kit in a waterproof container that includes a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food items, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, and vital documents (especially passport and other identification). Emergency shelters often provide only very basic resources and may have limited medical and food supplies.

Monitor local radio, local media, and the National Weather Service to be aware of weather developments. Minor tropical storms can develop into hurricanes very quickly, limiting the time available for a safe evacuation. Inform family and friends of your whereabouts and remain in close contact with your tour operator, hotel staff, and local officials for evacuation instructions during a weather emergency.

We strongly encourage U.S. citizens to enroll with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) website. By enrolling, you will receive the Embassy’s most recent security and safety updates during your trip. Enrollment also ensures that you can be reached during an emergency. While we will do our utmost to assist you in a crisis, be aware that local authorities bear primary responsibility for the welfare of people living or traveling in their jurisdictions.

Additional information on hurricanes and storm preparedness can be found on the Department’s “Hurricane Season – Know Before You Go” webpage. You can get updated information on travel in the Caribbean from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada or, from outside the United States and Canada, 1-202-501-4444. We also encourage you to check the Country Specific Information Sheet and the Internet site of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with consular responsibilities for the territory you will be visiting. Follow us on Twitter and become a fan of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ page on Facebook as well.

For any emergencies involving American citizens in the Dominican Republic, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Section Embassy is located at the corner of Cesar Nicolas Penson Street and Máximo Gómez Avenue, Santo Domingo, D.R.; telephone 809-731-4294; after hours emergency telephone 809-221-2171; ACS unit fax 809-689-6142; e-mail; web page