Special Report: Arduous evacuation of Chinese nationals from Japan's quake zone

08:42, April 02, 2011      

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China has impressed the world again with its arduous but swift and successful evacuation of thousands of Chinese nationals from northeastern Japan after a 9.0-magnitude quake, ensuing tsunami and radiation leak devastated the area.

The death toll from the March 11 disaster stood at nearly 11,600 by Friday morning, with another 16,400 still missing.

Shortly after the disasters, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the Chinese government attached great importance to the safety of Chinese citizens in Japan, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held a Cabinet meeting to order the swift evacuation of Chinese citizens in the quake zone to safer areas.

The foreign ministry and the civil aviation and tourism departments mobilized quickly to aid the Chinese nationals.

Within the following 10 days, the Chinese government helped evacuate some 7,600 Chinese from the disaster zone to safer regions and some 9,300 Chinese from Japan to China.


On March 18, President Hu paid a visit to the Japanese Embassy in Beijing to convey a message of condolence for the victims of the disasters.

He said the Chinese government was very concerned about the safety of Chinese nationals in Japan's quake zone, and thanked the Japanese government for offering help to them under such a difficult situation.

A range of Chinese government departments coordinated efforts in the tense but orderly evacuation.

The foreign ministry and the Chinese embassy and consulates in Japan started the emergency response mechanism, released urgent statements seeking orderly evacuation of Chinese nationals in the quake zone, and sent missions to organize and coordinate the evacuation.

The General Administration of Civil Aviation coordinated with several Chinese airlines to dispatch an additional 42 flights to Japan to support the evacuation.

The National Tourism Administration, collaborating with the foreign ministry, traced Chinese tourist groups in Japan, and tried to ensure the tourists' safety. Ten days later, all 5,416 tourists from 215 groups were back home from Japan safe and sound.

The Guangzhou salvage branch of the Transport Ministry sent its giant tug "Deyue" to rescue the "Longmu Bay", a ship with 24 Chinese crew members, which had been paralyzed by the tsunami.

The Public Security Ministry helped the Chinese embassy and consulates in Japan check the identifies of Chinese nationals in Japan in order to speed the processing of tourist papers, and ordered Chinese border check points to provide efficient and high-quality customs services.

Among the Chinese flights, a plane from China Southern Airline was dubbed a Noah's Ark by the 178 Chinese it retrieved from Miyagi prefecture, one of the hardest hit areas.

The plane safely landed at an airport in Shenyang city in northeastern China in the early hours of March 17. Many passengers said they deeply felt homeland China was like their mother, especially after experiencing the difficulties.

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Source: Xinhua
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