Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Fleeing Britons given new passports

People stop along the waterfront in New York to photograph the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline (AP)

British nationals forced to leave their belongings in hotels when they fled Hurricane Sandy are being issued with emergency passports to help them get home, a senior UK diplomat in New York says.

Danny Lopez, British consul-general to New York, said consular staff were doing everything they can to help Britons stuck in the city after the devastation caused by the superstorm.

Staff have already issued emergency passports to 10 people to help them get back to Britain, he said, with a steady flow of people with similar problems expected over the next few days.

Mr Lopez said the main problem was people who had to leave possessions in hotels when they fled for safety ahead of the storm's arrival on Monday night, and now could not get them back in time for their flights.

"The two main airports, JFK and Newark, opened up today. Currently both airports are not at full service in any way, so it's a limited service but there are a number of flights coming in and out," he said.

"From a British perspective, the main problem we have have had to deal with are visitors who had to leave the hotels where they were, due to this dangling crane on 57th Street.

"They had to leave and haven't been able to return to get their possessions, which included in many cases their passports and documents.

"What we have been dealing with today are passengers who have come to the consul for emergency passports."

He said 10 people were issued with emergency documents today and the consul also contacted their hotels, which had agreed to send their belongings on.

"There are a number of others who are not flying today, tomorrow, or Friday and therefore they will be wanting to see if they can get back to their hotels and recover everything and, if not, they can get emergency passports as well," he said.

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