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First flight resuming air links between Cuba, China arrives in Havana

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First flight resuming air links between Cuba, China arrives in Havana

2024-05-19 16:12 Last Updated At:23:17

The first flight to resume air links between Cuba and China arrived in Havana on Friday, with a stopover in Spain, which will enhance connectivity and facilitate exchanges between the two countries.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner of Air China was received at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana with the traditional water salute.

The flight was received by Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero, Chinese ambassador Ma Hui, and other high-level Cuban government officials.

Starting with two flights per week, it is hoped that the airline frequency will increase as passenger traffic between the two countries grows.

In a welcome ceremony at the airport attended by Air China crew members, travel agents and visitors, Marrero conveyed his gratitude to China's President Xi Jinping for making the flight resumption a reality, and noting the strengthening of relations between the governments, parties and people of China and Cuba.

"It's a valuable opportunity for us to welcome the resumption of flights by Air China between Cuba and China. We need to continue our efforts to consolidate the relationship between our two countries, so that our visa-exemption policy can better promote exchanges. We are very grateful to the Chinese people. We also believe that with this inaugural flight, we enter a new era," said Marrero.

"The resumption of direct flights between China and Cuba, together with Cuba's visa-exemption policy for Chinese citizens holding ordinary passports, has greatly saved the travel costs of Chinese tourists and made their travel planning more efficient. This will surely attract more Chinese tourists to Cuba to explore the splendid culture and long history and enjoy the natural scenery in the country. This will help with the recovery of the Cuban tourism industry, its economic and social development and overcoming the current difficulties the country is facing. It will also inject vitality into the promotion of people-to-people exchanges between China and the entire Latin American region," Ma said.

There were no direct flights from China to Cuba until Air China resumed the Beijing-Madrid-Havana route, the only direct one between China and Cuba.

The air links were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upon their arrival, the passengers said they were happy to have a direct connection to the island once again.

"I am somewhat surprised that we are welcomed with the highest level of courtesy of water salute. I didn't expect that the inaugural tour had such a high level of courtesy. We often see a lot of stories about Cuba on TV, and in this tour, we will be able to really bring those distant things into reality and see them with our own eyes. We are looking forward to it," said Deng Weidong, a Chinese tourist.

Cuban tourism authorities say the resumed air connection and a recent Cuban decision to adopt a visa-exemption policy for Chinese passport holders are two important incentives.

"Prospects and expectations about these flights are significant because China has nearly 1.5 billion people, so if just a small percent of that number of citizens come here as tourists, it would be a success," said Elizabeth Vela Jaime, tourism adviser for Asia.

Cuban tourist officials hope to welcome at least 3.5 million vacationers this year, a figure that could increase if the new Beijing-Havana connection meets expectations.

First flight resuming air links between Cuba, China arrives in Havana

First flight resuming air links between Cuba, China arrives in Havana

First flight resuming air links between Cuba, China arrives in Havana

First flight resuming air links between Cuba, China arrives in Havana

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Rescue, relief operations underway as seasonal floods hit parts of China

2024-06-20 23:19 Last Updated At:06-21 00:17

Rescue and relief operations are underway to mitigate the impact of seasonal flooding across China.

South China's Guangdong Province has mobilized emergency forces to the hardest-hit areas, such as Pingyuan County and Jiaoling County in the province's Meizhou City, where clearance and repair works on flood-damaged roads are underway.

The provincial emergency aviation rescue center also dispatched helicopters to rescue trapped or injured people and deliver generators, food, drinking water and other supplies to flooded villages.

Wuping County, another hard-hit area in east China's Fujian Province, also dispatched emergency management and transportation teams, who rushed to the scene in speedboats and rubber boats carrying life jackets and other rescue equipment and supplies.

The county also mobilized nearly 300 excavators, forklifts and other machinery to assist in the evacuation of more than 68,000 people.

Water levels in some sections of three of the four major rivers in central China's Hunan Province, the Xiangjiang, Zijiang and Yuanjiang Rivers, have risen by three to 7.5 meters due to continuous rainfall, causing floods in surrounding areas.

Faced with flooding, neighboring areas have taken strict preventive measures, and more than 23,000 residents have been evacuated.

Rainfall also lashed east China's Anhui Province, with torrential rain hitting the province's Huangshan City, causing floods and trapping many rural residents.

Nearly 900 emergency rescue teams in the city are currently carrying out rescue and disaster relief operations while transferring affected people to safe locations.

Many rivers in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also saw rivers exceeding flood alert levels, causing flooding in the region's Guilin City. Emergency responders have evacuated stranded people, and helped get traffic flowing again in urban area as the floods recede.

East China's Jiangxi Province is also closely monitoring key zones such as mountainous areas, reservoirs, and rivers to provide real-time disaster warnings, stepping up efforts to identify risks and hidden dangers.

China's State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Thursday initiated a Level-IV emergency response in Anhui and Hubei and Chongqong Municipality.

China has a four-tier flood-control emergency-response system, with Level I being the most severe response.

The Ministry of Emergency Management also urgently allocated 30,000 pieces of central disaster relief supplies to Guangxi in coordination with relevant departments.

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Water Resources said on Wednesday that it had allocated central fiscal water conservancy disaster relief funds of 916 million yuan (126.16 million U.S. dollars).

Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi will get 499 million yuan from the total to support flood disaster relief and flood prevention works, with a focus on providing subsidies for the repair of damaged water infrastructure.

Rescue, relief operations underway as seasonal floods hit parts of China

Rescue, relief operations underway as seasonal floods hit parts of China

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