Recently, we at ROM Global Risk Management have completed a time sensitive and highly stressful mission of providing round the clock support and guidance to a subject trapped in Wuhan, China – the epicenter of the Corona Virus (COVID19), assisting in the safe evacuation back home to the USA.
The mission started on a Friday night (Friday morning USA, Saturday Early morning China), as local authorities in Wuhan, China, have actively enforced a large-scale curfew on the city and region, effectively blocking all forms of transportation in and out of the area. This meant no one comes in or out, road blocks preventing private cars and taxis, no buses or subways, and flights out of the city cancelled.
The subject – a US citizen – was visiting elderly family members in the city, without any form of local support or assistance, staying at a hotel that was running out of food supplies.
A family member in the USA contacted his employers, who gracefully provided immediate support, contacting their own emergency support contractors.
However, those contractors, after a brief attempt at assisting the subject, came back with the answer that they cannot provide any assistance, and that they are giving up.
The employers’ Vice President for Human Resources contacted us at ROM Global Risk Management, to explore other ways of assisting, supporting, and ultimately safely evacuating the subject back home to the USA.
The main objective of the mission was to extract the subject as quick as possible from the area, and ultimately back to the US.
The challenges were immense: operating in a country where information is very restricted, with hardly any verified first hand intel coming out, strict control by the authorities of movement within and outside of the city, lack of resources on the ground, different time zones (16 hours) between the subject, ROM location and the USA, and the biggest challenge – a fast moving virus outbreak with little known information, spreading panic and fear.
Operations started immediately, contacting several sources in the area to gain first hand intel on the situation on the ground so we can explore possible operating strategies. At the same time, we established a direct communication line between the subject in China, the USA, and us, to monitor the situation closely and provide support and advice on a 24/7 basis. We also monitored the subject’s movements at all times to verify real time location in case something happens to the subject, or if the possibility of a quick extract appears.
Together with the subject and US family members, we devised a strategy that ultimately granted the subject a seat on the first flight chartered by the US Government to evacuate its diplomats and, based on priority, a very limited number of US citizens.
There’s much more to the story, but the most important thing is that the subject is in the USA, and after being monitored and taken care of by the US authorities, has been reunited with the family back home.
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