Sunday, August 8, 2010

First crisis

So, I got back from Tikal today and I will write up a post about that soon, but I have also had a very interesting evening.  I got a call from the other Consular officer that there was a situation where a girl and her mother may need emergency visas.  Essentially, the girl needed to travel to the US for emergency medical treatment due to an electrocution accident this weekend.  Unfortunately, neither her nor her mother had valid passports.

So, I spent about 3 hours talking to various people in the US and in Belize, trying to find out what we could do to help this girl.  The problem for me was to figure out who I could call and talk to on a Sunday night.  I eventually got on the line with the State Dept. Ops Center.  The Ops Center is the 24 hour emergency crisis line AND the phone book for the State Dept.  They connect all of Secretary Clinton's calls and they were quite helpful connecting me to the right people.

While nothing has been confirmed yet, it looks like we should be able to help this girl get the medical treatment she needs.  This is the first real time-sensitive situation I have dealt with, especially outside of normal work hours.  Honestly, it was a huge rush.  In some ways, it reminded me of last year when I was working as a prosecutor - everything being done on the fly in an imperfect situation.

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