What Canadians should do if caught up in violence when traveling to Colombia

The Canadian Press prepared an article following the shooting on the night of October 1, 2017, in Las Vegas to help Canadians when caught up in violence while traveling abroad.

Photo Conde Nast Traveler

Though the article by Nicole Thompson wrote the article back in October 2017, it is important to read but hopefully, never something you may need to endure.

Mark Pugash, director of corporate communications with the Toronto Police, said following the Las Vegas tragedy, “Our advice generally is to clear the area as quickly as you can. If that is not an option, then hide. And in the very worst situation, which we would expect to be exceedingly rare, you have to remember that if the object of the person is to kill, then you may well have to fight for your life.”

Pugash stressed, however, that it would be exceedingly rare for a person to need to fight back during such a situation.

Robin Cox, program head of the disaster and emergency management graduate programs at Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C., added that when a person is in an emergency situation such as the one in Las Vegas, it can be natural for them to freeze up.

“To try and avoid that situation, she recommended preparing for the worst ahead of time, the way people review safety procedures whenever they travel on an airplane,” said Cox.

Once you’re out of danger, the federal government recommends Canadians abroad contact friends and family as soon as possible after dangerous situations, even if they haven’t been affected by it.

It also suggests leaving the area on a commercial flight or bus if it is safe to do so, monitoring local news and following the advice of local authorities.

All Canadians are eligible for consular assistance in the case of an emergency. The government can help Canadians depart to the nearest safe haven, communicate with families back in Canada, or try to put Canadians in touch with their families.

Canadians can also register themselves with the federal government when they travel abroad, and officials will send them instructions on how to prepare for and what to do during emergencies.

If you’re injured, the Canadian government can help in a medical emergency by providing a list of local doctors and hospitals but notes that it won’t pay citizens’ medical expenses. It recommends that people buy travel insurance before leaving the country.

Click here for the Canadian Press article published on Global News.

Here is the link to Emergency services offered by the Canadian Embassy in Central America www.canadainternational.gc.ca/costa_rica (in English, French, and Spanish). Additional contact address sos@international.gc.ca

The contact number for the Canadian Embassy in Bogota, Colombia is (57-1) 657-9800. Email: bgota@international.gc.ca. Embassy hours are from Monday to Thursday from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon and 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm, Friday, 8:00 am – 1:30 pm.

After hours emergency contact information: call toll-free from Costa Rica: 0-800-015-1161 or call collect to Canada: 001 (613) 996-8885 or 001 (613) 944-1310 (TTY).

The Embassy in Colombia is located in Bogota, Carrera 7 #114-33
Bogotá, Colombia.

Services for Canadians

Passport, citizenship applications, notarial services and other consular services
Monday to Friday 8:00 – 11:00 (appointment required). Passports, citizenship certificates and notarial services pickup. Monday, Tuesdays Wednesdays and Thursdays 14:00 – 16:00 (no appointment required)

Emergency Services are available for Canadian citizens 24/7. Call the Embassy during working hours 571+ 657-9800 dial 1 for English and then 2 to be transferred to the consular section or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa after hours +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls accepted).

Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa: sos@international.gc.ca

For consular emergencies in Cartagena, you may also contact Zillah Eugenia Mendez, Canada’s Honorary Consul in Cartagena:

Bocagrande Edificio Centro Ejecutivo, Oficina 1103, Carrera 3, No. 8-129, Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia: Tel: (57-5) 665-5838. Email: cartagena@international.gc.ca. Hours of attention to the public: Monday to Friday: 09:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Canadians are now advised/requested to register if living or vacationing in Colombia at: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/index-eng.asp (English and French). This is a Travel & Tourism website with information on how to have a safe and enjoyable journey whether you are traveling in Canada or abroad.


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