Emergency Info:
Hotlines for expatriates in Shanghai

What you need to know

With its low crime rate, level of violence and comfort, Shanghai feels like a very secure place for an expatriate.  Every so often, however, something – like the SARS epidemic in spring 2003 -- happens to shake up that sense of security and remind us of the importance of having an emergency plan in place.

Discuss with your company their evacuation policy, and make sure you have a clear understanding of the circumstances under which you will be evacuated, and what costs will be covered.  You should also formulate your own plan, in the event that you want to leave the country before the company’s evacuation policy goes into effect. For further information on Emergency plans in case you have access to e-relocation Shanghai go to Step 1 and visit the section Risk Investigation.

Questions you should address include:

Where will I live? If your home country home is being rented out, or if you no longer own a home in your home country, you should discuss the possibility of living with relatives/friends in the event of an emergency evacuation, or explore the costs of hotels or long-stay apartments. Consider your home country, and also investigate possibilities in the region
Will the whole family come? If not, what is the comfort level of leaving the working spouse behind in a potentially dangerous environment? What safeguards can I put in place?
What will I do about schooling for the children? Will their Shanghai school provide them with lessons via email in the event of an interruption of education? Is there a school in the home country that will take them for a brief period? Or a boarding school?
In any sort of emergency situation, the most important tool in your decision-making process will be information. Unfortunately, information in China, whether received from local sources or from news agencies abroad, is not always accurate or timely. Expatriates in Shanghai are fortunate in that the local government is one of the best providers of good information nationwide, as they want to preserve Shanghai’s reputation as a good place to do business.

Nevertheless, there are several other good sources of information during emergencies, primarily consulates (the monthly U.S. consulate briefing, open to U.S. citizens, addresses questions and topical issues), international schools and chambers of commerce.

Foreign Missions

Register at your embassy and get your name on their mailing list or subscribe to their e-mail newsletter. Inform yourself about their emergency and evacuation procedures via their web site.


Health Information

Information on the lung disease SARS and the Avian Flu (brid flu):


See also Risk Investigation > Health Hazards

Important Telephone Numbers