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Foreign ministry: 100 Swedes in NZ quake zone

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11:31 CET+01:00
The Swedish foreign ministry believes that around 100 Swedes were in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time of a major earthquake, but confirmed that there are currently no reports of any injuries.

"We have no exact figures, but we have a general idea that there can be around 100 Swedes in the area around Christchurch," said Sara Brandt-Hansen at the foreign ministry to The Local on Tuesday.

"At the current time, we have no details whatsoever over any injured Swedes. This situation could change and we will issue information on our webpage and blog," she said.

The Swedish embassy in Canberra, Australia meanwhile urged Swedes in the disaster hit area to tread carefully.

"Swedish citizens in the area are encouraged to show caution and to follow the advice of the local authorities," according to a statement on Tuesday.

"Those planning to travel to Christchurch should await continued developments."

The earthquake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, struck about ten kilometres south-west of the city on New Zealand's south island shortly before 1am on Tuesday Swedish time, causing widespread damage.

Christchurch is home to around 350,000 people and initial reports indicate 65 deaths, with hundreds more injured.

The initial quake was followed by a series of secondary quakes, causing further damage to buildings.

Christchurch's mayor has declared a state of emergency and police reinforcements have been called in from across the country to assist with the disaster response.

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