48 Chinese citizens fly back home from Haiti

08:29, January 28, 2010      

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BEIJING: A group of 48 Chinese nationals who had been stranded in quake-hit Haiti arrived in Beijing Wednesday with the Chinese rescue team, who have finished their mission in the Caribbean island country.

The charted flight which left the airport of Port-au-Prince on Monday afternoon, returned to Beijing Capital International Airport on Wednesday morning.

Chinese citizens pose with Chinese diplomats at the Beijing Capital International Airport airport after they flew back home from Haiti on January 27. (Xinhua Photo)

After the devastating quake occured, the stranded Chinese, mostly from China's Fujian province, were properly settled in temporary shelters by the Chinese business representative office in Haiti, and were offered water and food by Chinese peacekeepers.

A working group consisting of 23 officials from the Foreign Ministry, the China Earthquake Administration, and provincial and municipal governments including Guangdong, Fujian and Beijing, came to Haiti on January 25 and specified procedures to bring them home.

"We are really excited to return home. We were taken good care of by the crew and had good rest along the trip," said Dong Zhengdong, one of the stranded who fled from a hotel in Port-au-Prince when the massive quake occured.

The 32-year-old was on a business trip in Haiti bidding for a local bridge project. "The first three days were too hard for us. We suffered tens of aftershocks everyday and heard gun shots from time to time."

"However, we felt happy after we were found by officials from the Chinese business representative office in Haiti and the Foreign Ministry, and were brought to the field command of the Chinese peacekeepers."

Wei Wei, director of China's Foreign Ministry Consular Department told Xinhua at the airport that after the Haitian earthquake, the central government had ordered the repatriation of Chinese nationals stranded in Haiti as soon as possible.

After the 7.3-magnitude quake that killed at least 110,000 people on January 12 local time, the Foreign Ministry asked the Chinese business representative office in Haiti to keep in close touch with Chinese nationals, provide them shelter, food and drinking water and ensure their safety.

"We felt proud to conclude our mission of taking back the stranded compatriots, and we tried our best to protect them from suffering physical or mental assaults," said Qiu Jian, head of the 23-strong working group.


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