Irish Victims In NZ Quake Sought

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin says it is "urgently" working with New Zealand government officials on the possibility of any Irish Nationals caught up in Tuesday morning's earthquake.

The department said they are trying to make contact with Irish nationals registered in the area, as there are believed to be around 1,000 Irish people living around the quake's epicentre in Christchurch.

New Zealand's prime minister says at least 65 people have died and at least 200 people are believed trapped under rubble. The quake struck at 11.51pm on Monday, only 10km southeast of the city.

Police said that among the dead were people on two buses, which had been crushed by falling buildings.

New Zealand police officers, including those skilled in disaster victim identification roles, are travelling to Christchurch, which is the largest city in the county's south island, as part of the emergency response to the earthquake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale.

According to local police sources, around 200 staff have been mobilised as part of the immediate response with another 130 expected to travel in the next few days to support their Canterbury colleagues and other agencies deal with the tragedy.

Some 50 officers from the Wellington Police District including two DVI officers and two recovery dogs are travelling by ferry and over 100 other officers and staff are arriving in the area.

A second phase of 130 staff is also being drawn from other police districts.

Overnight rain is believed to be causing complications in the search and rescue of victims thought caught amongst fallen rubble, but a police spokesman said emergency services and disaster response agencies were continuing "all possible efforts" to search buildings in the central business district and other parts of the city.

Anyone with concerns regarding family or friends who may be in the Christchurch area is asked to contact the Department at 4180222 or register details on the Department’s travel registration system, a link to which is available on the Department's home-page –



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