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Wednesday, September 30

NZ ready to assist after Samoan earthquake, tsunami

New Zealand stands ready to assist Samoa and the wider Pacific region following the earthquake this morning and reports of a tsunami, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.

"New Zealand's diplomatic missions throughout the Pacific are in contact with local authorities to gather as much information as possible on the situation and how New Zealand may be able to assist," Mr McCully said.

"Information is still coming to hand, but there are early reports of casualties in Samoa, as well as significant damage to many villages.

"New Zealanders in Samoa are advised to follow any advice or instructions issued by the local authorities. People should stay tuned to local radio for advice; stay away from the sea, and move to higher ground.

"The New Zealand High Commission in Apia is working to contact New Zealanders in Samoa to check on their well-being. We are also encouraging New Zealanders in Samoa to contact friends and family at home to allay any concerns.

"People concerned about family members in Samoa should try to make contact with them in the first instance. Those with ongoing concerns can call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 04 439 8000, and provide as many contact details as possible.

"Anyone worried about the safety of non-New Zealand relatives in Samoa should contact the Samoan High Commission on 04 472 0953.

"There are currently 76 New Zealanders registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as being in Samoa, but the actual numbers are likely to be far higher given it is the school holidays here," Mr McCully said.