Interesting theme appearing — US Foreign Service Not Helpful

One of the themes I keep reading about in the stories from the Southeast Asia Disaster Zone is that Americans are all reporting how ineffective and/or invisible members of the US Foreign Service are in dealing with citizens trying to get replace documents, find loved ones or simply get home.

I hope that the Canadian Foreign Service is doing a better job.

Faye Wachs said she was impressed by the efforts of the Thai
government and the International Committee for the Red Cross, but "she
was appalled at the treatment they got" from the U.S. government, her
mother said.

At the airport in Bangkok, other governments had set
up booths to greet nationals who had been affected and to help
repatriate them, she said.

That was not the case with the U.S.
government, Wachs told her mother. It took the couple three hours, she
said, to find the officials from the American consulate, who were in
the VIP lounge.

Because they had lost all their possessions, including their documentation, they had to have new passports issued.

But the U.S. officials demanded payment to take the passport pictures, Helen Wachs said.

The
couple had managed to hold on to their ATM card, so they paid for the
photos and helped other Americans who did not have any money get their
pictures taken and buy food, Helen Wachs said.

"She was really very surprised" that the government did so little to ease their ordeal, she said.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/12/28/tsunami.diver/index.html

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