Dunedin parents relieved daughter survived quake

"Everyone is in amazing good spirits" is the message China-based teacher Catherine McKinlay sent home to her parents in Dunedin after an earthquake devastated the southwestern region of the country on Monday.

Miss McKinlay (33), a teacher in Leshan, near Chengdu, Sichuan province, lives about two hours' drive from the epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude quake.

Christine McKinlay said it was wonderful to hear via phone and Internet that her daughter was alive and well.

"It was very reassuring," she said.

An email which arrived at 12.45am yesterday said Miss McKinlay, her fellow teachers and students were all sleeping outside because of fears of aftershocks.

Many of her students were worried about relatives in the worst-affected areas, but everyone was in amazingly good spirits.

It was also a busy time for another of the McKinlays' children.

Malcolm (36) works for the International Federation of the Red Cross in Bangkok and had been part of the effort to organise aid for cyclone-torn Myanmar.

Twenty-seven New Zealanders reported as being in the areas affected by the earthquake have been contacted by officials.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was trying to contact another nine who may be in the area.

Acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen said yesterday there had been no requests for assistance from the Chinese Government.

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