China helps 4,000 citizens stranded abroad due to volcanic eruption: FM

09:03, April 22, 2010      

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The Chinese government has offered help to more than 4,000 citizens stranded abroad due to the volcanic ash from Iceland, said a press release from China's Foreign Ministry Wednesday.

The release said the ministry launched an emergency mechanism and opened a 24-hour hotline immediately to help the public. China's embassies and consulates in European countries had kept close contacts with airports and airlines to provide the stranded Chinese with the latest information on flight schedules.

They also asked host countries to facilitate visa extensions, issue transit visas and to facilitate exit and entry formalities for Chinese citizens, said the release.

By 12 a.m. Wednesday, the Ministry had answered almost 1,800 calls, released dozens of items of news from missions abroad and provided information to Chinese abroad on its website as well as the websites of its embassies and consulates.

According to the ministry's Department of Consular Affairs, more than 3,000 Chinese citizens are stranded in Europe due to the cloud of volcanic ash that has disrupted air traffic.

Air China, the nation's flagship carrier, had resumed all flights to Europe Wednesday. Foreign airlines had restored some services to Europe and some European airports had reopened.

The Department of Consular Affairs would continue monitoring developments and coordinate with other departments to help stranded Chinese return home or get to other destinations at an early date.


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