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No reports of casualties from Taiwanese travelers in New Zealand

TAIPEI -- There have been no casualty reports involving Taiwanese travelers in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, which was hit by a magnitude-6.3 earthquake Tuesday, according to local tourism authorities and tour operators.

Hsu Kao-ching, secretary-general of the Travel Agency Association of the Republic of China, Taiwan, said that as of noon, the association had not received any information related to the earthquake.

The Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications also said there had been no bad reports from Taiwanese tour groups in New Zealand.

The bureau said it will continue to closely monitor the situation in Christchurch, the second-largest city in New Zealand and a popular tourist destination.

Meanwhile, Taipei-based Lion Travel said the company has a 12-strong tour group in New Zealand.

It said the group was in Queenstown on South Island that day and was scheduled to travel to Christchurch two days later.

The tour guide was evaluating the safety of traveling to Christchurch, also on South Island, before deciding whether or not to change the itinerary, Lion Travel said.

According to foreign wire reports, the strong earthquake jolted Christchurch at 12: 51 p.m., local time, causing widespread damage. Local police said fatalities had been reported at several locations.

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