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March 12, 2011

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Plans in place to deal with any effects of quake

SHANGHAI last night put emergency measures in place to prepare for any effects of the tsunami caused by the massive earthquake in Japan.

The city's maritime, ocean, fishing, tourism, anti-flood and disaster emergency response authorities were put on standby to respond to any possible fallout from the quake, including a 0.3-meter tsunami wave which was due to hit the coast at 2am.

Shanghai's flood control authority said monitoring patrols were intensified around the city's coastal shores and anti-flood gates were activated. The movement of ocean waves would be closely monitored, officials said after an emergency meeting yesterday.

Around the time of the quake in Japan, 90 fishing boats were working at the mouth of the Yangtze River, near the East China Sea. Local authorities put out a warning about a tsunami over the radio, asking fishermen to be on alert.

China's marine environment forecaster removed a tsunami warning after the huge waves churned by the earthquake were reduced to less than 50 centimeters when they reached Taiwan yesterday.

The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center said the waves would not have a disastrous impact on China's coastal areas.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai government said there were 55 local tour groups in Japan, including 1,550 people in major cities. The government had not received reports of any casualties by late last night. Most of the tourists were in Tokyo, Nagoya, the Mount Fuji area and Osaka, officials said.

Five local tour groups with 134 tourists due to fly to Japan yesterday cancelled their trips. Tours due to take off from Shanghai for Japan today and tomorrow had been suspended due to safety concerns.

At least three flights bound for Japan were forced to return midway yesterday and more than 23 others were delayed at the city's two airports, authorities said.

Tourism officials said they were ready to assist tourists in Japan having problems getting home to Shanghai after the quake forced the closure of Tokyo's Narita International Airport.

With the closure of Japan's Narita, Haneda and Sendai airports, Chinese airlines altered their flight plans and canceled some services.

China Southern Airlines canceled two flights to Tokyo, which were due to leave from Guangzhou and Shenyang today, and suspended ticket sales for tomorrow's flights to Tokyo.


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