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Earthquake in New Zealand: consular team of the German Embassy working to help evacuees New Zealand

16.11.2016 - Article

In the early morning hours of 14 November 2016, a 7.5‑magnitude quake hit New Zealand. In Christchurch, a consular team of the German Embassy in Wellington is assisting evacuated German tourists.

Members of the consular team of the German Embassy in Wellington are working to help evacuees
Members of the consular team of the German Embassy in Wellington are working to help evacuees© Auswärtiges Amt

In the early morning hours of 14 November 2016, a strong earthquake hit New Zealand. Although the northern part of the South Island was particularly hard hit, the quake also caused substantial damage to infrastructure in other parts of the country, especially to buildings and streets. The New Zealand authorities have declared a state of emergency for the area affected by the earthquake.

Evacuation of Kaikoura

Because all roads to Kaikoura, situated north of Christchurch, are currently closed, the Royal New Zealand Air Force on 15 November began airlifting tourists from the Kaikoura peninsula, which has been cut off from the outside world, to Woodend, just north of Christchurch. It has also set up a coordination office for the arriving evacuees.

Assistance being provided by staff of the German Embassy in Wellington

Rita Gastl-Obermüller and Franz-Josef Obermüller from Augsburg receive advice from Wolfgang Hüsgen, Head of Administration at the German Embassy
Rita Gastl-Obermüller and Franz-Josef Obermüller from Augsburg receive advice from Wolfgang Hüsgen, Head of Administration at the German Embassy© Auswärtiges Amt

German tourists, too, are among those trapped in the area that has been hit by the earthquake. The consular team of the German Embassy in Wellington, as well as the German honorary consul in Christchurch, Mr Theo Giesen, have been providing assistance to evacuated German citizens since 15 November.

Advising and providing support to German tourists in emergency situations

Advising and providing support to German tourists in emergency situations is one of the chief tasks of Germany’s missions abroad. Within the scope of consular assistance cooperation in the European Union, German consular officers also help EU citizens of countries that do not have a local embassy.

Helicopter evacuation operation of the Royal New Zealand Air Force
Helicopter evacuation operation of the Royal New Zealand Air Force© Auswärtiges Amt

The consular team will initially provide assistance to tourists who have been evacuated by helicopter at the coordination site in Woodend. Later, the team will move to Horncastle Arena, which serves as an assembly point for evacuees in Christchurch, and where some 500 tourists who were evacuated by sealift are expected to arrive.


Find out more:

Website of the German Embassy Wellington: www.wellington.diplo.de

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