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Minister extends sympathy to Chinese NZers

Hon Chris Carter
Minister for Ethnic Affairs

13 May 2008 Media Statement

Minister extends sympathy to Chinese NZers

Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter today expressed his deepest condolences to all those affected by yesterday’s catastrophic earthquake in Sichuan province in China.

“There will be many New Zealand Chinese families who have family and friends in the area affected by yesterday’s disaster.

“The New Zealand government is monitoring the situation and I want to express my deepest condolences to all those affected by this devastating earthquake,” Chris Carter said.

The latest reports of the earthquake that centred in Sichuan province of South-western China puts the death toll at nearly 10,000. Hardest hit by the 7.8 magnitude quake appears to be Sichuan's Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County.

Over 150,000 New Zealanders are of Chinese origin, many of them new migrants. Events in the earthquake zone will have impacted on a number of New Zealand families.

Yesterday’s earthquake comes only days after Cyclone Nargis tore through Myanmar. The Minister said that he had just finished writing to Burmese community groups around New Zealand to express his sympathy only to wake today to hear of another disaster hitting the Asian region.

The Minister has written today to Chinese community groups in New Zealand outlining the government’s response and letting organisations know who they can contact for further information.

Anyone with concerns about the safety or whereabouts of family and friends in the affected region, they should make direct contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by phoning 04 439 8000.


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