Pacific Scoop

Somare sends condolences to NZ over earthquake disaster

CTV building

Ruins of the Canterbury Television building: King's Education, a language school in the building, had 14 staff and 87 regular students - including Chinese, Korean, Saudi Arabia, Thai and Phillippines nationals, plus 21 visiting students from Japan and two visiting staff. Photo: SBS

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Malum Nalu in Port Moresby and Mary Johns in Suva

Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has written to his New Zealand counterpart John Key, expressing deep sorrow and regret over the loss of lives and property in the disastrous earthquake that struck Christchurch on Tuesday.

“On behalf of the government and people of Papua New Guinea, I convey our deep sorrow and condolence on the terrible loss of lives and destruction caused to properties and public infrastructure following the devastating earthquake that struck the city of Christchurch.
“As your people mourn this tragic loss, we pray that the Almighty God will guide, console and grant strength to the immediate families and relatives affected by this catastrophe during this time of bereavement.
“I am confident that the strength of spirit and resilience of the New Zealand people, which has seen them overcome previous natural disasters, will see them through this tragedy,” he said.
The National reported today PNG valued its bilateral ties with New Zealand.
“We are friends in every sense of the word. As a token of expression of our solidarity, profound sorrow and regret, my government stands ready to offer whatever assistance your government might require towards the recovery efforts in Christchurch.”
A number of PNG students are studying in New Zealand, but it could not be confirmed yesterday whether any attended colleges in the Christchurch or Canterbury region. 

Mary Johns, reporting in The Fiji Times, said most of the 3000 former Fiji Islanders living in Christchurch were safe and well.

She was quoting Jale Moala, a former Fiji newspaper editor who is now a subeditor with The Press in Christchurch.
Checking around
“It seems like most of us are okay,” he said. “I’ve been calling around checking on our people here.

“Some people have their homes damaged but they are either living with relatives or friends.

“Luckily, most of us live away from the danger area.”

Moala said the earthquake touched everyone in Christchurch.

“While none of us were hurt it affected all of us,” he said.

“A young woman ran for her life as the building she was in earlier collapsed.

“It’s quite terrible and a very, very sad situation.

‘Like a war zone’
“We feel for those who have lost their loved ones.

“Someone died at our office – this earthquake has touched everyone in Canterbury.”

Moala likened Christchurch to a war zone.

“The central city is under lock down,” he said.

“It’s very difficult to travel around the city.

“The city has been basically divided into two.

“We come from a place like Fiji where we expect cyclones not something like this – so many deaths.

“You don’t know how to deal with it.”

98 confirmed dead
Scoop reports that police have announced 98 had been confirmed dead from Tuesday’s earthquake. The bodies were being held at a special mortuary.
Police said the number of those who had perished in the earthquake would increase – 226 people were listed as missing.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully confirmed that New Zealand had grave fears that foreign nationals may be among the fatalities from Christchurch’s devastating earthquake.

Follow Scoop quake coverage:
Scoop Update (6:53pm): 98 Confirmed Dead, 226 MissingLIVE Chat/Video
NZ Defence: Huge Assistance Effort Delivering Supplies To Christchurch
CTV-Based School: Kings Education Releases Personnel Status List
Scoop Full Coverage: Comprehensive List Of Quake Information & Reports
Fiji: Ratu Inoke confirms no loss of life
Quake media coverage on Pacific Media Centre