Huawei has established a comprehensive customer network support system across four dimensions: organizational structure, personnel, processes, and IT tools. In doing so, we ensure that everyone is entitled to communication and information access and sharing anytime anywhere. We have also established a mature business continuity management (BCM) system that provides a contingency plan for emergencies such as for earthquakes or outbreaks of war. This system allows us to quickly restore customer networks and resume stable operations following critical emergencies, thus helping safeguard lives and property.
We have established three global and nine regional technical assistance centers. Nearly 4,000 Huawei technical support engineers provide 24/7 services worldwide. In 2017, we ensured smooth communication for more than one-third of the world's population, and supported the stable operations of over 1,500 networks in more than 170 countries and regions. We guaranteed network availability during nearly 200 major events, natural disasters, and special occasions such as the magnitude 8.2 earthquake in Mexico, the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan, China, and the annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
On September 7 and 19, 2017, Mexico City was struck by two earthquakes, recorded at magnitudes 8.2 and 7.1 respectively. The disaster disrupted 1,081 communications sites of our customers. Duty called. Soon after the first earthquake, our Global Technical Assistance Center initiated its Business Continuity Management procedures for emergencies and formed an emergency support team. To restore the damaged networks, within just 15 minutes of the disaster occurring, our team obtained customer consent to remotely access their networks and began repair work. Our Mexican subsidiary also assigned experts to work on site.
Our close collaboration with local carrier customers supported strong lines of communications in disaster-stricken areas. We assigned over 170 engineers to work on site for over 2,200 hours, and supplied 12 diesel generators and 24 vehicles for relief efforts. We also helped a customer rapidly migrate users from a peer's congested network to a new one. We temporarily shut down 4G cells in order to extend the battery life of sites. We also implemented a contingency plan to protect networks from the impact of traffic surges.
Huawei engineers recover network services via authorized remote access
Supporting smooth communications, and enabling rapid disaster recovery and stability of networks to protect lives and property: These are our most important social responsibilities. Our network support team won positive customer recognition through our professional processes and organizations, visualized real-time monitoring, and rapid emergency response measures.
In early October 2017, smoke could be seen wafting up intermittently from Mount Agung. That prompted Huawei's O&M team in Indonesia to immediately set up a key event assurance team. This team took a wide range of actions to mitigate risks including identifying vulnerable sites and checking stock levels for spare parts. We added battery capacity, reduced exposure to dust at VIP sites, and prepared a drill for the eventual volcanic eruption. On November 21, Mount Agung spewed ash and fumes, sending glowing red columns of ash 4,000 meters into the sky. The region's international airport closed and some 100,000 residents from 22 villages had to be evacuated. Thanks to our thorough preparation, the impact on network equipment was limited. On the day of the eruption, a central supporting base station went down. As a result, the five base stations it served were also affected. A Huawei employee drove through the ash cloud to the site and fixed the station, ensuring smooth communications.
On November 28, floods hit Pactitan and Yogyakart, resulting in more than 200 sites in East Java going offline. We immediately adjusted the transmission plans for the sites that were down and restored more than 20 sites within 3 hours. We also prepared materials for the sites in advance together with customers so that they could be ready once the remaining flooding subsided. For high-priority VIP sites, we did everything we could to get out to the sites and power them with over 20 mobile diesel generators. After the flood waters had receded some ten hours later, we had a bulldozer clear roads to affected areas so materials could be delivered overnight. After a grueling 30-plus hours, we had all sites back up and running.
From August 29 to September 5, 2017, 3.5 million pilgrims from around the world headed to Mecca for the Hajj, marking a 30% increase over the previous year's participation. The pilgrims gathered in an area of 10 sq. km., causing a spike in international roaming users and a surge in voice traffic, placing great strain on communications networks.
To ensure smooth communications, Huawei established a project team, covering five major telecom operators in Saudi Arabia. The team consisted of 740 experts providing support either onsite or remotely. To increase network reliability, they took a series of measures in advance, including checking the health of networks in key regions, eliminating risks, upgrading software, expanding network capacity, developing contingency plans for possible emergencies, and performing drills.
Starting on August 25, the project team worked around the clock, monitoring network operations in real time, promptly reporting any network abnormalities, and regularly sending progress reports to customers. Due to abnormal power supply during this period, large numbers of communications sites went down three separate times, with over 100 sites dropping each time. Each time, Huawei's project team recovered networks within 30 minutes, preventing any serious impact.
During the eight-day Hajj, Huawei successfully ensured smooth communications for 33 million users, with 7.8 million erlang of voice traffic and 70,000 terabytes of data traffic.
Huawei's network support team for the Hajj