Washington, D.C. (February 22, 2011) – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep sadness at the loss of life and destruction of property in New Zealand resulting from the earthquake that struck Christchurch, the country’s second largest city, and surrounding areas. The 6.3-magnitude quake that shook the city at midday has claimed at least 65 lives, according to media reports, which are describing it as the country’s worst natural disaster in 80 years.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban extended his deepest condolences to the families of those who have been killed, injured or rendered homeless by this still unfolding tragedy.
“He acknowledges the ongoing efforts by the Government of New Zealand to help those affected,” the statement added. “The Secretary-General stresses the readiness of the United Nations to contribute to its efforts in any way needed.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday expressed her concern for the people of New Zealand.
“I am deeply saddened by the news that a second major earthquake in 6 months has struck Christchurch,” said Clinton. “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send our sincere condolences and sympathy to the people of New Zealand.”
Clinton said that when the earthquake struck, American and Kiwi officials were in the middle of a meeting in Christchurch, discussing plans to further develop and expand the broad partnership between our nations.
“The United States stands ready to provide assistance to the government of New Zealand and to the brave people of Christchurch. Our long history of friendship and mutual support in times of need is an example of our enduring bond. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, especially the families of the victims, and with all the people of New Zealand.”