In the event of a natural disaster or other crisis in or near your location, you need to take urgent steps to stay safe.
This page provides general advice that applies to most crises and emergencies overseas. It covers the basics of:
- what to do during a crisis
- types of crisis
- where to get help
- how the Australian Government may help
- registering with DFAT during a crisis
Read this page in conjunction with our pages specific to each type of crisis and our Consular Services Charter.
What to do during a crisis
- Stay safe. Take immediate action to stay safe. If you're already safe where you are, don't go out or travel until you know the threat has passed.
- Get medical care. If you're injured, seek medical assistance. Understand that local emergency services may be stretched during a crisis. Don't expect priority services because you're an Australian.
- Contact your loved ones. Tell family and friends where and how you are as soon as possible. If they've heard about the crisis from the news, they'll fear for your safety.
- Contact us if you need help. In a crisis we will initiate a crisis response. Only contact us if you need urgent help or have serious concerns for family or friends.
- Follow instructions from local authorities. Unless we tell you otherwise, do what the local first responders tell you. They're the authority in your location.
- Stay up to date. Follow the news and social media for developments as they unfold. Subscribe to updates for your destination's travel advisory.
Advice for different types of crisis
See our information about what to do for specific types of crises and emergencies.
- Hurricane or cyclones
- Demonstration or civil unrest
- Armed conflict
- Terrorist situation
- Volcanic eruption
Where to get help
If there's a crisis in or near your location, you have help options in your destination and from back home.
Seek help from local authorities first. Emergency services in most destinations have processes in place for crisis situations. See 'local contacts' in the travel advisory for your destination.
Family and friends
Reach out to your family and friends and ask for help. Especially if you need money or someone to help coordinate flights out.
Contact your travel insurer. If you can't find their emergency number, look them up on Find an Insurer (Insurance Council of Australia).
The Australian Government
In some circumstances, consular officials may be able to help. However, there are limits.
We may help through a formal crisis response if we declare a crisis. We may assist through the nearest embassy, consulate, or 24-hour consular emergency centre if we haven't declared a crisis.
How the Australian Government can help
The Australian Government may be able to help. However, we're limited in how and when we can support Australians overseas.
In many situations, you'll need to seek help from local authorities, family, friends or travel insurer.
For emergency assistance, phone the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from anywhere in the world.
It's important you understand our limits, including in a crisis. Read the Consular Services Charter.
What we can do
- We can initiate a crisis response if we know Australians are or could be affected.
- We can provide emergency consular support.
- We can give you a list of local hospitals with doctors who speak English if you need medical assistance.
- We can contact your relatives or friends with your consent.
What we can't do
- We can't guarantee your safety and security in another country or provide you with personal security services.
- We can't give you legal or medical advice.
- We can't make decisions for you or make you leave a country.
- We can't make your travel arrangements.
- We can't force local authorities to act.
We activate a crisis response only if:
- we learn there is, or has been, a crisis or national emergency overseas
- our consular officials and intelligence community have confirmed the event
- the event impacts (or could impact) Australian citizens in the area.
Learn more about crisis response.
Registering with DFAT during a crisis
We no longer ask you to register your trip with us before you leave Australia. However, DFAT may set up a registration portal in a crisis. This allows you or your family to register your location and contact details with us if you're in the affected area.
We'll publish the link on our website if we open crisis registrations. If you plan to travel, subscribe to your destination and our news updates.
- What to do if there's a natural disaster. See advice for an earthquake, volcanic eruption, severe weather and bushfire.
- What to do if there's a demonstration or terrorist situation nearby.
- What to do if armed conflict is threatening to, or has, broken out
- Learn more about the Consular Emergency Centre (CEC) and crisis response.
- Know how and when we can help. Read the Consular Services Charter.
- For help, contact your nearest Australian embassy or consulate (DFAT).
- Look up your travel insurer's emergency helpline on Find an Insurer (Insurance council of Australia).
- See more about listed terrorist organisations (National Security, Australian Government).