The Chinese consulate in Christchurch has said all the Chinese tourists stranded in the devastated town of Kaikoura are now safe. Rescue efforts following the magnitude-7.5 quake continue.
Some 1,200 tourists were reportedly stranded in Kaikoura, a popular tourist destination on the country’s South Island, famous for its coastal scenery, which was some 100 kilometers from the epicenter of the quake. Some Chinese tourists were on a road trip when it struck.
“We were lying on the ground, we didn’t know the quake’s magnitude, and the ground was shaking a lot,” said one of the tourists.
They spent a terrifying night in their coach. One of them had a slight head injury.
“We were all transferred to a hillside, as we were concerned about a tsunami, or a landslide,” a tourist said.
The youngest was just five years old. They managed to get in contact with the consulate before the batteries in their phones expired.
“Land routes have all been blocked, with a possible danger of a tsunami, the sea route was also not available,” said Li Xin, deputy cousol general of Chinese Consulate in Christchurch.
Nineteen trips were made by five helicopters to get them to safety.
Huge landslides cut Kaikoura’s road and rail links, while police said water was running low, power was intermittent and hundreds of people were staying in evacuation shelters.
New Zealand’s prime minister expressed his concern that its tourism industry, the country’s biggest export earner, would take a hit from the devastating images that were being splashed across television screens around the world. But Chinese travel agencies say it is still business as usual from their point of view.