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53 NZers In Affected Areas Remain Unaccounted For

MFAT TSUNAMI UPDATE 9 AT 1730 ON THURSDAY 30 DECEMBER

1 NZ officials in Thailand now have 787 names entered on their database. Of these, around 440 are confirmed OK, one is confirmed deceased and 12 are in hospitals in Bangkok, Phuket and Krabi, five persons having been discharged recently. There are unconfirmed reports of two other deceased New Zealanders. There are now 53 New Zealanders unaccounted for and known to have been in the affected areas - this list has been reduced from 124 following call-backs to friends and relatives by MFAT staff in Wellington. Around 280 others are unaccounted for and thought to have been in somewhere in Thailand.

2 In addition to the 12 New Zealanders reported hospitalised in Thailand, we are aware of two New Zealanders hospitalised in India.

3 The RNZAF 757 aircraft has left for Phuket. It will overnight in Darwin before arriving in Phuket early tomorrow afternoon. On board is a 10-member Disaster Victim Identification Team, comprising eight Police personnel, a dentist and a pathologist. Also on board is an Emergency Response Team comprising officials from Police, NZ Defence Force, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This team will strengthen the team of Police and NZ Embassy officials already working in Phuket.

4 New Zealand officials now in Phuket are working to have an office up and running soon. The MFAT team leader in Phuket, Sarah Craig, will hold a press briefing this afternoon at 1630 Thailand time (2230 NZT) at the Crisis Centre established at the Provinical Government Headquarters in Phuket. Editors are asked to convey this to journalists on the ground in Phuket.

5 Enquiries have been made through the Red Cross and MFAT call centres concerning about 2300 New Zealanders. Of these just over 1000 had been accounted for. Many further calls are being processed - some of these are likely to relate to additional names, while others will relate to previous enquries. The Red Cross advise that about half the calls they are now receiving relate to New Zealanders who have been found.

6 In order to account for people registered on our databases, we continue to encourage New Zealanders to advise the Red Cross (0800 733 276) if they have heard from their friends and relatives in the affected areas.

ENDS

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