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Taiwanese rescue teams to depart for New Zealand

2011/02/22 18:16:48

Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) The National Fire Agency under the Ministryof the Interior is scheduled to send a 24-member rescue team with twosniffer dogs to New Zealand late Tuesday.

Taipei City government also said that a 23-member internationalrescue team with various rescue equipment, including life and imagingdetectors, as well as its own two sniffer dogs, is ready to departfor New Zealand as soon as it gets the green light from the NationalFire Agency.

There have been no reports of Taiwanese casualties since amassive earthquake struck Christchurch, the largest city in NewZealand's South Island, earlier in the day, the Ministry of ForeignAffairs said.

The magnitude-6.3 strong quake devastated Christchurch, toppingtall office buildings at the height of the workday.

Prime Minister John Key, who rushed to the city from the capital,Wellington, said Tuesday the death toll was liable to rise. He said,"We may be witnessing New Zealand's darkest day."

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake was the second in five months forthe city, which came through a 7.1-magnitude quake in Septemberwithout loss of life. But seismologists said this one struck closerto the city and much closer to the surface, making it far moreintense.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng, Johnson Sun, Chen Hung-chin and Lilian Wu)