Know before you go: natural disasters

January 23, 2018

We only have to look at the disruption caused in Indonesia by Mount Agung or the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma to the British Virgin Islands, and surrounds, to know that as well as interrupting day to day life, natural disasters can present a risk to our physical wellbeing.

If you are planning a move to another country, it is important to research the risk of natural disasters as part of due diligence before you leave, so you can be better prepared for any eventuality. We will cover some of the most popular countries that expats move to. However, they are not the only ones impacted by natural disasters so no matter where you are moving to make sure you research it thoroughly.

First of all, there are things you can do to prepare for natural disasters that may occur whilst you’re working abroad as an expat including:

  • Registering with your embassy or consulate
  • Keeping a close eye on local news and weather forecasts
  • Deciding to stay or go as early as possible
  • Making a disaster kit including water, first aid kit, torches and some food
  • Following the advice of local authorities
  • Have comprehensive International Health Insurance
Hong Kong’s east meets west ambiance makes it a popular choice for western expatriates. It’s also a gateway to the rest of Asia, if you are interested in exploring other destinations while you are on assignment. Natural disasters in the region generally revolve around typhoon season which runs from April to October. During this period the island can be battered by gale force winds stronger than 74MPH and large volumes of rain which can lead to land slides and flooding.
Bangkok is becoming a more and more popular destination for expats as improving infrastructure and affordable accommodation attract start-ups while low barriers to business are attracting multi-nationals. National disasters in the last 15 years have centred around storm damage, flooding and the Tsunami in 2004 caused by a major earthquake in the Indian Ocean.  Rainy season from May to October is the period where Thailand is at most risk of natural disasters.
Looking for an intercultural experience in a land of adventure? Then Indonesia may be the expat destination for you. In terms of natural disasters, Indonesia’s location on the Pacific rim means it has had its fair share of events over the last ten years including earthquakes, volcanos, floods and tsunamis. In December 2017, Mount Agung in Bali caused great disruption in the area including affecting flights in and out of the country.  However, by staying informed and aware of risks, with a plan for getting out if the risk gets too high, you can minimise the danger of coming to harm.
Recently voted one of the top 15 countries for expats, with Kuala Lumpur voted the 4th best city in the Expat Insider Survey 2017.  Its friendliness towards foreigners and easy going temperament makes it a fantastic place to work as an expat. In terms of natural disasters, it can face typhoons, tsunami, landslides and occasionally, due to its tropical climate, epidemics. However, as a relatively developed country, disaster management is high on the agenda for the government so once you stay informed the chances of coming to harm are minimal.
Although taking the steps outlined here should minimise your risk from natural disasters, it is always best to ensure you are protected by Expat Health Insurance should you be injured or require treatment. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your Expat Health Insurance needs.