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Irma: The Foreign Ministry is at work to inform Italians and provide assistance

The Foreign Ministry continues its unrelenting efforts to tackle the consequences of Hurricane Irma, which has swept across the Caribbean and especially over the French and Netherlands Antilles and the British Virgin Islands and that, after making landfall in Santo Domingo and Cuba, is now following its trajectory towards Florida.

Ever since the day before the emergency, the Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Unit and the Italian diplomatic and consular network got to work to alert Italians present anywhere in the area that was liable to be struck by the passing of Irma, providing them with updates on the evolution of the meteorological situation and on the possible safety hazards through all the channels available (the Viaggiare Sicuri portal, the websites of Embassies and Consulates, social media).

At the beginning of the crisis only a limited number of Italians had registered on the Dove siamo nel Mondo portal – which enables travellers to give prior notice of their presence in a given area of the world, thus facilitating contacts and the coordination of assistance abroad in the case of need.

The Situation Room of the Crisis Unit, in coordination with the diplomatic delegations in the area, handled hundreds of contacts day and night, disseminating information and collecting the names of individuals reported, thus gradually acquiring a picture of the Italian tourists actually present in the area, in addition to the Italian citizens who reside there.

Up to now, on the basis of the reports received through the competent local Authorities, and cross-checking all the available information, no Italians have been reported among the victims.  

In order to alleviate the difficulties borne by the Italian citizens who, for the moment, are not allowed to leave the area, a close cooperative effort has been established with France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which are coordinating the emergency relief operations on their respective territories (French and Netherlands Antilles and the British Virgin Islands), also mobilising the diplomatic and consular network present in the rest of the region (Cuba, Santo Domingo, Florida).

Despite the particularly complex situation, local Authorities are providing emergency assistance to the entire population, including foreigners.

The Foreign Ministry is outlining all the possible scenarios for the upcoming hours and days, with the forecast passing of Hurricane José and in consideration of the current situation of the airports in the Antilles and in the British Virgin Islands, which are reported to be damaged and closed to air traffic, or used by local Authorities to dispatch emergency relief and aid operations.