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World launches efforts for New Zealand earthquake victims

The United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and even Google have launched efforts to aid victims of Tuesday's New Zealand earthquake, which killed at least 65 people.

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"These rescue teams are experts at recovering people who are trapped or affected by structural collapse and consist of highly trained emergency services workers, doctors, engineers, and search dogs," Mr. McClelland said.

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Christchurch felt a number of aftershocks today, sending rocks falling and likely further compromising public structures. New Zealand's Ministry of Tourism redirected inquiries to the Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management, which was posting regular updates to its website. "Expect aftershocks," it advised. "Each time one is felt, drop, cover, and hold on."

The state of Canterbury's Environment Ministry had also created the website canterburyearthquake.org.nz with regular updates.

In signs of progress, the main Christchurch Hospital had reopened by late afternoon today, and the city had also reopened its airport to emergency flights.

The temblor struck while a US delegation of 43 government, business, and community leaders was in Christchurch, but the US Embassy of New Zealand said in a statement that all were safe.

“The thoughts and prayers of our delegation, and the American people we represent, are with the people of Christchurch, the Canterbury region and all of New Zealand on the occasion of this devastating tragedy," said Rep. Donald Manzullo (R) of Illinois, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, who was a member of the mission.

The embassy said anyone seeking or providing information about the welfare of Americans in Christchurch could email: chchquake@state.gov

Google was quick to launch a new Person Finder application on its website to aid those looking for missing people or with any information about missing people. The California-based search giant has also set up a Crisis Response page that lists emergency phone numbers, maps, and other resources. Google launched similar efforts following the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

According to the US Geological Survey, the temblor was an aftershock from a 7.1-magnitude earthquake on Sept. 4, 2010, in Darfield, New Zealand. It caused an estimated $3 billion in damages, but no deaths.

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