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Hurricane Maria: Feds urge Canadians to register, make travel arrangements ahead of storm

Click to play video: 'Hurricane Maria upgrades to category 5 before hitting Dominica' Hurricane Maria upgrades to category 5 before hitting Dominica
WATCH: Hurricane Maria upgrades to category 5 before hitting Dominica – Sep 18, 2017

The Canadian government has issued a warning for those travelling to the Caribbean as Hurricane Maria approaches the islands.

LIVE BLOG: Tracking Hurricane Maria’s path

“Global Affairs Canada wants to remind Canadians of the importance of making safe travel arrangements,” a statement read.

Hurricane Maria has grown to a Category 5 storm and was expected to touch down in Dominica Monday Night. It could reach Puerto Rico by Wednesday.

“For up-to-date information on your destination, please check our Travel Advice and Advisories, monitor the news and follow the advice of local authorities.”

Canadians are asked to register with the government, which will notify people in case of emergency or natural disaster.

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The call to register comes after Canadians stranded in the Caribbean slammed the feds for their slow response to Hurricane Irma. The Category 5 storm, which at its worst had 295 km/h winds, hit the Caribbean earlier this month.

READ MORE: Hurricane Maria strengthens to Category 5 as storm heads toward Caribbean islands

Families who spoke with Global News at the time said other countries including the U.K. and the Netherlands, deployed aircraft and resources to the region more quickly than Ottawa. The U.S. has already made use of military planes to get 1,200 American nationals out of the Caribbean region since Irma made landfall.

Global Affairs said that around 9,000 Canadians registered with the Registration of Canadians Abroad Service in the region and 348 Canadian citizens had asked for assistance.

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Officials said that Canadians requiring emergency assistance should contact the nearest Canadian government office or the Global Affairs Canada 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa, by collect phone call at +1 613 996 8885 or by email at sos@international.gc.ca.

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