Sichuan launches steps to gather information about tourists in Jiuzhaigou hit by quake

Tourists evacuating from a hotel in Ruo'ergai in south-west China's Sichuan province, on Aug 8, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Tourism Development Committee in Sichuan province is collecting information about tourists in Jiuzhaigou, a scenic spot in Sichuan province hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday night, China National Tourism Administration said in a notice on Wednesday (Aug 9).

As summer is a busy season for Jiuzhaigou and the number of tourists travelling there has increased greatly in recent days, Sichuan tourism committee has been collecting and gathering information about tourists and is cooperating with travel agencies, local government and hotels to evacuate.

A task force led by Mr Yang Jian, deputy director of the committee, left for Jiuzhaigou county on Wednesday, the national tourism administration said.

Data from Jiuzhaigou National Park showed that more than 38,000 tourists were travelling at the scenic spot on Tuesday. About a half was travelling by themselves and the others were in tour groups.

The Sichuan tourism committee has asked tourism administration authorities in neighbouring cities such as Mianyang and Deyang to offer necessary help to tourists.

The national tourism administration has requested tourism administration authorities in Sichuan to report the situation of tourists in a timely manner.

Tourists in Jiuzhaigou could call 12301 - the national tourism service hotline - for help, the national tourism administration said in the notice.

Meanwhile, Air China will allow passengers to change or cancel their flights to Jiuzhaigou for free, according to the company. The airline will also increase flights to Jiuzhaigou to evacuate people out of the quake zone.

Air China 4393 left Jiuzhaigou on 9.47pm on Tuesday, 28 minutes after the quake, for Guangzhou, the first flight to leave the area after the disaster. The flight carrying 119 passengers landed safely on Wednesday.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, facilities of airports near the quake zone, including Jiuzhai, Chengdu, Hongyuan and Mianyang, were operating well.

The administration carried out emergency conference on Tuesday night to plan the rescue effort. Airlines are ready to fly to the area to carry out rescue.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to rapidly organise relief work and rescue those injured, Xinhua news agency reported.

Authorities should check the impact of the earthquake, evacuate and settle visitors and local people, and reduce death and injuries as much as possible, Mr Xi said, according to Xinhua.

He added that authorities should enhance meteorological early warning and geological monitoring to guard against other disasters.

China's Cabinet, the State Council, has sent a national work team to the disaster-hit area to guide relief work, Xinhua added. Local governments have also activated top-level emergency response procedures.

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