Govt pledge to assist families of foreign nationals

1:30 pm on 4 March 2011

The Government says it will do all it can to assist the families of foreign nationals killed in the Christchurch earthquake.

Civil Defence on Thursday announced the rescue effort is now moving to a recovery operation following the 6.3-magnitude quake on 22 February in which at least 161 people have died.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says New Zealanders are acutely aware of the death of up to 100 overseas visitors and students from more than 20 countries.

Mr McCully thanked international rescue teams, saying New Zealand did not have the capacity to deal with the disaster alone.

He says the Government is conscious of how hard Thursday's decision is for the international families and it is doing all it can to assist them.

The Government has relaxed visas and waived fees, and provided police liaison and interpreters.