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February 28, 2011

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Families of missing go to NZ

FAMILIES of two Shanghai students missing in the New Zealand earthquake have traveled to Christchurch as they desperately seek information on their loved ones.

Some 23 Chinese people are confirmed missing in the Christchurch earthquake, according to the website of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand last night.

Relatives of Cai Yu, 31, and Xin Sisi, 29, arrived there over the weekend to await any news from rescue teams in the earthquake-hit city.

Other family members are anxiously waiting in Shanghai for an update on the students, who have been out of contact since last Tuesday's quake.

"We are crying inside. We're just not showing it in front of our relatives and friends," Cai's mother told the Oriental Morning Post.

Cai's parents were watching television news and listening to radio reports when the reporter called on Saturday night.

Their computer was also switched on as they followed the latest from Christchurch.

"I wish I could hear my sister's voice on the phone," said Cai's elder sister Cai Hui yesterday. She has remained close to the computer and telephone since the disaster.

Cai Yu is a nurse and planned to continue study nursing in New Zealand, her family said.

She went to King's Education language school in Christchurch last October and was due to complete her studies in April.

"We usually chat on web-cam and the last time we talked was last weekend," her sister said. "But now we've lost contact."

King's Education was on the third floor of the Canterbury Television building on Madras Street, which collapsed in the earthquake. If Cai Yu had gone to the school that day, it is feared she is buried among the rubble. "The best we can hope for now is that she was saved earlier but is in a coma," said her family.

Cai Yu's husband, surnamed Xu, has traveled to New Zealand. The couple have a three-year-old daughter.

Her sister received her visa yesterday and plans to go to New Zealand soon.

The family of Xin, who studied nutrition at the University of Otago Christchurch Campus, face similar uncertainty.

Calls to her cell phone have been unanswered. In contrast, following an earthquake in Christchurch last year, Xin had immediately called her family to say she was safe.

Xin went to New Zealand six years ago to study, and has already obtained a degree there, according to reports.


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