No Singaporeans injured in Jiuzhaigou quake, but at least 2 tour groups affected

No Singaporeans injured in Jiuzhaigou quake, but at least 2 tour groups affected
A group of tourists from Singapore who were in Jiuzhaigou when the earthquake hit. Photo: Dynasty Travel
Published: 3:28 PM, August 9, 2017
Updated: 6:53 PM, August 10, 2017

SINGAPORE — No Singaporeans have been reported injured in the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that struck near popular Chinese tourist spot Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan on Tuesday (Aug 8), but at least two tour groups were affected.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday that the Singapore Consulate-General in Chengdu has reached out to all e-registered Singaporeans in the affected areas, and all citizens in Jiuzhaigou are safe. Its spokesman added: “The Consulate-General is in close contact with the local authorities and will render the necessary assistance to affected Singaporeans.”

Travel companies Dynasty Travel and Chan Brothers told TODAY they each have one tour group in Jiuzhaigou, but everyone is safe and sound. 

Dynasty Travel has 34 travellers in the Jiuzhaigou and Chengdu area, and 16 of them stayed overnight in Jiuzhaigou on Tuesday. But by 7pm on Wednesday, they had arrived in Chengdu. The remaining tourists in the Sichuan capital were not affected by the quake. 

Its spokesperson Alicia Seah said: “We will amend our itinerary to ensure that the journey is safe ... Our understanding is the entire Jiuzhaigou scenic route is closed.”

Another group of 20 tourists with Chan Brothers were in a hotel in Jiuzhaigou on Tuesday night when the quake struck. The group will be staying for another night, but its spokesman said it is currently monitoring road conditions and will try to fly them out on Thursday.

The agency has another tour group scheduled to enter the region on Saturday, but it is awaiting advice from the airlines. 

The Sichuan government said on one of its official social media sites that more than 38,000 tourists were visiting the World Heritage Site, which has been dubbed “Fairyland on Earth”.

According to the US Geological Survey, Tuesday’s quake hit a sparsely populated area 200km north-west of the city of Guangyuan, near the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, at a depth of 10km. 

The earthquake killed at least 19 people, including eight tourists, and injured 247, the provincial government and official media said on Wednesday.

Singapore’s MFA said: “We are saddened by the earthquake centred in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan, which has claimed lives and caused injuries. The Singapore Government expresses our deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and wish the injured a speedy recovery.’’

Jiuzhaigou, which got its name from the nine Tibetan village settlements, is a popular tourist destination for Singaporeans. 

Dynasty Travel’s Ms Seah said the peak tourist season for Jiuzhaigou is approaching, and it already has 30 groups of about 900 travellers for the region in the next two months. Chan Brothers also has more tour groups slated to depart for the region. Both operators said they will update their customers accordingly.