The Evacuee Support Network was started in 1985 by a group of AAFSW members who were concerned about the rising number of family members who were being evacuated from posts around the world, whether from political unrest or medical reasons. Since that time, the ESN has met over 1,000 evacuees and helped get them to their next stop – whether it was just changing planes with an armload of kids, putting them in a taxi to a local hotel, or taking them personally to their destination. We provide the evacuee with information about allowances and lend a helping hand when needed. We can also help Foreign Service family members who return to the area for medical evacuations. This usually means providing transportation help during a medical evacuation.
Over the years, ESN volunteers have met planes at all three local airports, babysat, taken folks to the doctor, given advice on housing, schools and hotels, relayed messages to the evacuee from family members, and been a friend to frazzled, distressed evacuees who are reeling with the enormity of what they are going through. ESN volunteers have lent winter coats, a stroller or two, and sent e-mails for the evacuees to a spouse back at post to let them know all have arrived safely.
1999 was an extremely quiet year for evacuations; 1998 saw us giving the Department of State over 500 volunteer hours to meet many of the evacuees from the 14+ evacuations! You never know what or when the next evacuation will be; there is no “typical” year.
Many of the ESN volunteers have been evacuated themselves and share a special kinship with the arriving folks; others simply want to help. Whatever the reason, all AAFSW members are invited to join. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.