A devastating 34-day war in Lebanon during the summer of 2006 led to one of the largest mass evacuations since World War II, with approximately 50 countries taking part in the efforts to remove 60,000 nationals from the area in a short period of time. More recently the political and civil unrest events, commonly known as “Arab Spring”, that occurred in the latter half of 2010 and beginning of 2011 across several nations in Africa and the Middle East, led to violence and unsafe conditions for citizens, which required the immediate intervention of countries to evacuate their nationals. Registration of citizens, in crises such as the aforementioned or during natural disasters such as tsunamis or earthquakes, has proven to be an important pro-active mechanism in the delivery of consular assistance for individuals caught in the affected area. In times of crisis, registration is an important communication line to a home government.
VisaPort is equipped with an integrated set of tools from preparedness to crisis response; as a part of this product line, Registration supports the enrolment of citizens living or traveling abroad. Travel itineraries can optionally be linked to the consular section providing a proactive view of your citizens travelling abroad. This information is used to locate citizens, provide emergency communications, assistance and manage the warden system (a voluntary communications structure for nationals abroad). Aside from crises events, Registration helps manage embassy events, and provides the ability to communicate via email or SMS with the local community. There are two mechanisms for recording registrations – through a consular officer or directly by a citizen. Registration provides citizens with the ability to log-on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website or through a mobile device and record their own registration details, residency and travel itinerary. Alternatively, consular officers can register citizensin person at an embassy or consulate, or via telephone directly into the system. Registration data from all sources is stored centrally so that consular officers have information readily accessible to generate reports on registrants’ locations. Information on pre-registered or self-registered citizens can also be accessed by the Crises product in the event of a crisis. For consular groups that have a warden system, the software supports the assignment of registrants to a district and warden for emergency communications and co-ordination.