Please Note: This is what appeared on the official State Department Advisory on January 26th, 2003. Please compare this toned down version with the news released by the State Department on January 24th and reported by Reuters through Yahoo! and which was promptly taken off circulation.
PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTU.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
General Advice For Americans Resident Overseas
Among the highest priorities of the Department of State and our missions abroad is the safety and security of locally-resident Americans overseas. In the past year, the Department has intervened to assist in the evacuation of Americans from half a dozen countries throughout the world as a result of serious political or economic unrest, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks. Hundreds of expatriate Americans each year are forced by personalemergencies (e.g. death or illness in the family) to return to the U.S. on short notice. Evacuations, especially under crisis conditions, are inevitably very disruptive and distressing for those involved.
The State Department routinely provides standard advice to its employees on prudent steps to take
to ensure they would be prepared in the event of such an evacuation. This and other advice on
crisis preparedness is available on the Department's Web
site at http://travel.state.gov, and we are summarizing the principal points below. The
Department commends these elementary steps to you for your careful consideration.
-- Assemble all vital documents such as passports, birth and marriage records, vaccination, insurance and bank records in one readily accessible location;
-- Check to be sure your passport and any necessary visas are valid and that you are registered at the Embassy/Consulate with your current address and phone number. If you need to obtain a new passport or to update your registration, please do so at the Embassy as soon as possible (fill in the times and days). Visa processing can take several weeks. Immediate family members should keep their U.S. visas current and apply for visas with as much time in advance of planned travel as possible.
-- Make or update as necessary a complete inventory of your household effects, in duplicate.
-- Maintain an adequate supply of food, water, and necessary medications in your home. Make sure your car is in good working order. Keep the gas tank full and check oil, coolant, tires, and battery.
We do not want American citizens to become unduly alarmed. These are precautionary measures only. Given the potential for acts of violence, terrorism, or anti-American demonstrations, we believe it is important for all citizens to maintain readiness for all possibilities in case of an emergency. We will promptly inform you of any significant developments and advise you accordingly.
The Department of State encourages all American citizens residing abroad to register their presence and obtain up-to-date information on security conditions at the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.