Embassy arranges airlift for stranded Chinese tourists

Updated: 2015-04-27 07:48

By Zhao Xinying and Wang Wen(China Daily)

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The Chinese government is helping citizens stranded in quake-hit Nepal and has arranged for hundreds of them to be flown home.

The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu, the capital, was opened to Chinese citizens on Saturday afternoon, and the consular section is serving as a temporary shelter, Cheng Ji, the commercial counselor at the embassy, told China Central Television in a phone interview on Saturday.

The National Tourism Administration of China said that, as of Sunday morning, 683 Chinese tourists were stranded in Nepal, which was hit by a magnitude-8.1 earthquake on Saturday afternoon.

Many of the tourists have abandoned their travel plans and are hoping to return home as soon as possible, Cheng said. The embassy is contacting airlines to help them leave the country.

The Civil Aviation Administration said in a statement on its website that 18 flights were due to fly between China and Nepal on Sunday, including three carrying relief materials and two chartered relief flights.

A chartered flight was sent by China Southern Airlines to pick up tourists on Sunday morning at the request of the Chinese embassy in Nepal, the statement said.

A Chinese tourist, surnamed Chen, gave updates on her situation on her micro blog. She said staff members from the embassy appeared at Kathmandu airport on Saturday evening, remained with stranded tourists and tried to reassure them.

Chen said she and many other Chinese citizens boarded a China Eastern Airlines plane early on Sunday morning and arrived at Kunming, Yunnan province, at 6 am.

"I'm so grateful to our home country, to the Chinese embassy in Nepal and to the crew," she said on her blog.

Another blogger, who did not give her name, said on Sunday afternoon that her mother, who was traveling in Nepal, had arrived back in Kunming, their home city.

"Thanks to China's airline companies, my mother is back. Let's pray for people in the quake-hit area," she said.

According to figures released by the Civil Aviation Administration, as of 4 pm on Sunday, four airline companies of China - Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Sichuan Airlines, had taken more than 1,000 Chinese citizens back to China.

Contact the writers at zhaoxinying@chinadaily.com.cn and wangwen@chinadaily.com.cn