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MFAT Tsunami Update 11 - Friday 31 December

31 December 2004

MFAT Tsunami Update 11 - Friday 31 December

1 NZ officials in Thailand now have 834 names entered on their database. Of these, 526 are confirmed OK, one is confirmed deceased and 11 are in hospitals. We are following up reports of three further New Zealand deaths, although at this point these are unconfirmed. There are now 64 New Zealanders unaccounted for and known to have been in the affected areas. This number has increased since the last update as new information has come in. Around 230 others are unaccounted for and thought to have been in somewhere in Thailand.

2 In addition to the 11 New Zealanders reported hospitalised in Thailand, we are aware of one New Zealander hospitalised in India.

3 A small number of New Zealanders are unaccounted for in India and Sri Lanka - around four in each - although at this point there are none about whom we have particular concerns. Our High Commission in Delhi is continuing to make enquiries, working with other governments and the New Zealand Honorary Consul in Sri Lanka (New Zealand does not have a High Commission in Sri Lanka). Information to date indicates that there do not appear to be any New Zealand casualties in Indonesia, Malaysia or the Maldives.

4 As time passes, it is becoming clear that positive identification of victims will require DNA matching. Thai authorities have begun burying bodies to avert the risk of disease. Samples of hair and tissue will be taken from the bodies of foreign victims to enable DNA identification later.

5 People wishing to contribute to the relief efforts are encouraged to make cash donations to well-established New Zealand aid organisations. These donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Government. Donations of items such as food and clothing are currently being discouraged.

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 friends and relatives in the affected areas.

ENDS


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