Two Irish Victims In NZ Quake

It has been confirmed that two Irish people were among those killed in yesterday's New Zealand earthquake.

Only one of the men has been named so far. Owen McKenna, in his mid-40s, from County Monaghan, had been living in the country for several years and was married to a New Zealand woman.

It is believed the other man, understood to be originally from Northern Ireland, was married to an Irish woman.

Confirming the deaths this morning, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said there were also serious concerns for the safety of three other Irish people who are missing in the area.

Another 200 Irish nationals are registered in Christchurch, and the DFA said there were “general concerns” for the safety of around 70.

On Wednesday morning, New Zealand police said 75 people have been confirmed dead and while the bodies of 55 people have been identified another 20 are awaiting identification.

Speaking in New Zealand, police spokesman Superintendent Cliff said: "300 people are reported missing. Some of these people could be trapped in buildings but others may just have difficulty contacting family."

Police have been asking people to come to a Family Liaison Centre along the Main North Road of the city to register their concerns for missing family. Currently, many residents are ignoring police cordons in attempts to rescue loved ones.

Police also said today that around 80% of the city remains without water, but power has been restored to the majority of the central city.

The quake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck at 11.51pm on Monday, only 10km southeast 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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