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No Taiwanese stranded in New Zealand by volcano eruption: MOFA

2012/08/08 14:20:40

Taipei, Aug. 8 (CNA) There have been no reports of Taiwanese travelers or expatriates affected by the volcano eruption in New Zealand's North Island, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Wednesday.

Mount Tongariro erupted late Monday for the first time in more than a century, spewing ash from the Te Maari craters on the northern side of the mountain and prompting the New Zealand government to issue a threat warning for the country's central North Island.

After the eruption, residents in the Rotoaira area near the mountain were evacuated and a major highway in the region was closed at one point, but there have not been reports of any volcano-related human casualties or major property damage, the MOFA's Bureau of Consular Affairs said in a statement.

However, the bureau reminded Taiwanese business travelers and young people on working holidays in New Zealand to stay away from the region and to keep abreast of news updates about the situation.

James Chou, deputy director-general of the MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said the department contacted Taiwan's representative office in New Zealand as soon as it heard about the volcano eruption.

"To date, none of our tour groups or individual travelers have been stranded due to the eruption," Chou said.

As ash from Monday's eruption continues to spread, Chou added, his department will continue to watch whether flight schedules will be affected.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Sofia Wu)