Quake, wars, unrest, make evacuation big business
By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent>> Click here for more information
LONDON | Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:08pm GMT
(Reuters) - With revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, conflict in Libya and Ivory Coast and now an earthquake in Japan, specialist international crisis management, security and evacuation firms are busier than ever.
Major corporations and overstretched foreign ministries have turned to the handful of companies running private 24-hour operations rooms and field teams -- often staffed by ex-military personnel -- to help get people out and safeguard assets.
That ranges from facilitating air tickets and advising on safe passage, protection and refuge options to chartering planes and ships and occasional liaison with military rescue missions.
"It's been frantic," said Tom Frankland, a former British Army tank officer and now operations director for London-based crisis management firm Northcott Global Solutions. "We had Tunisia and Egypt, then Libya was hugely busy -- a mixture of energy and government clients who wanted help with evacuations." Numbers were huge. At one stage, the firm was dealing with 10 separate requests totalling some 6,000 potential evacuees of many nationalities.
Security Provider Middle East Whispering Bell is a security Risk Management Company based in the Middle East. We have been working with Northcott Global Solutions (NGS) as a regional provider since the start of 2011 and have been directly engaged in operations in the region. The 24 hour NGS Operations team supporting these efforts have been professional and courteous, communicating effectively whilst managing client interface on multiple live operations. As a regional provider to NGS, we have been made to feel a part of the team during such operations with an impressive 2-way flow of information. Commercially NGS have always been prompt with payment, which has created a level of trust essential when conducting live global contingency operations. We very much look forward to continuing a close relationship as an NGS regional provider in the future.
Voice of America
A Trusted Source of News & Information since 1942
Private Companies on Standby to Aid in Evacuations From Japan Sharon Behn March 18, 2011>> Click here for more information
Private security companies that specialize in civilian rescue operations say that despite the horrific scenes coming out of Japan, the country is probably better prepared for disaster than almost any other nation in the world.
Thousands of foreign nationals are trying to get out Japan and away from its rising chaos and nuclear threat. And help is available - from private companies with experience in such situations.
Japan is having difficulty coping in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that swept its northeastern regions a week ago. Food and fuel are in short supply. And there are growing fears of radioactive fallout from the overheating nuclear reactors.
Northcott Global Solutions in Britain also is monitoring the situation. It specializes in evacuations from remote or challenging areas, and employs former British soldiers to carry out operations.
Northcott CEO Ted Jones has advised the British government on evacuations and crisis management in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and now, Japan. Jones said he has spoken to British officials about land, sea and air evacuation options, but so far Northcott is not involved on the ground in Japan:
"The infrastructure of the country, within Japan, as hideous as that situation is, is still up and running," said Jones. "You can, for instance, still fly out of Tokyo and various other airports there."
So for now, these companies remain on standby, waiting to see if the Japanese government can bring the nuclear problem under control while keeping roads and airports open.