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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Remarks at New Zealand Earthquake Anniversary


Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Christchurch, New Zealand
February 22, 2012

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It’s been a year since a terrible earthquake struck New Zealand, but memories are still fresh. I had visited Christchurch just a few months earlier, and I was shocked to learn of the scope of the damage. So many lives were lost. So many homes and businesses were destroyed. Together, and with the leadership of our embassy staff on the ground, we began to work out how the United States could help. That’s what friends do.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the United States, along with many other countries, sent an Urban Search and Rescue team to provide assistance. When their mission ended, they gave their advanced rescue equipment to their Kiwi partners so the work could continue. When a terrible earthquake struck Japan just weeks later, New Zealand quickly deployed its own teams… along with that same equipment. In America, we call that “paying it forward.” It was international relations at its very best.

Even those of us who were far away on that terrible day share in your grief. We know it has been a struggle, but through that struggle we have seen the strength and perseverance of the people of Christchurch. So, Christchurch, yes, we grieve with you. And we remember with you. But most of all, as we celebrate 70 years of a strategic partnership with New Zealand, know that we will continue to support you and we look forward to a long future of cooperation as we work to solve our common problems.



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