UPDATE: 17th April, 2019
New Zealand’s terror threat level downgraded from ‘high’ to ‘medium’ following Christchurch terror attack.
More information on New Zealand’s threat levels and definitions can be found at: dpmc.govt.nz.
ALERT UPDATE: 19th March, 2019
Please see below an updated briefing on March 18 from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
50 people are confirmed to have been killed in the horrific attacks at two Christchurch mosques on Friday, March 15.
35 patients remain in hospital, predominantly in Christchurch. Most of the people in hospital have New Zealand citizenship.
The alleged attacker was apprehended quickly. He is in custody and has been charged with murder. He has been remanded to reappear at the High Court on 5 April, when he will face other charges arising from the current investigation.
Nationwide, the New Zealand Police have adopted a high-profile approach. Armed police officers are currently very visible to provide reassurance in our towns and cities, not least at mosques and other potentially vulnerable locations.
Supporting all victims and their families – whether New Zealand citizens, residents, or visitors – is of utmost importance.
The safety of the Muslim community in New Zealand is a top priority for the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Government.
New Zealand Police continue to lead the operation in relation to the shootings. The National Crisis Management Centre has been activated to coordinate all of government management.
Raising of Threat Level
As a result of what has occurred, New Zealand’s National Terrorism Threat Level has been changed from low to high, defined as a terrorist attack is assessed as very likely.
In New Zealand, the National Terrorism Threat Level is articulated using a six-tiered framework moving from negligible to extreme. High is level five. It was at level three. The threat level is continually under review.
Victims, Identification and Nationality
It is a priority to return victims to their families. Police and Coronial Services are working with urgency and great care to identify the victims, using the Australasian Disaster Victim Identification process as required under New Zealand law.
The support of the Muslim community has been exceptional. Imams from local mosques worked with families to provide names of those unaccounted for. This has been helpful, but is not an official list of victims. The official list will come through the DVI process, which is underway.
New Zealand Police and MFAT have a clear process set up for the release of individual names, with identification and nationality information included. The Coroner and New Zealand Police Family Liaison Team in Christchurch will manage communication of this information to the family.
Support for victims and families
New Zealand’s ACC scheme automatically covers everyone in New Zealand injured in an accident. It also includes visitors to New Zealand if they’re injured while they’re here. This includes people injured in the Christchurch attacks. Further announcements on support for families are expected.
ALERT DATE: 16th March, 2019
ALERT: CHRISTCHURCH situation. We are following the tragic events in #chch, please follow local authorities for advice & updates.
New Zealand’s national security threat level has been lifted from low to high.
Police ask the public to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious by calling 111 immediately. NZ Police advises, “There is no guarantee the risk is limited to Canterbury and we need all New Zealanders to be extra vigilant.”
Christchurch residents are urged to stay home.
People can register a missing person or register themselves as alive at the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website (link is external).
People in New Zealand can also register missing persons on 0800 115 019
People outside of New Zealand can call 0064 3 353 4532
If in New Zealand, please let family & friends know you are OK.
We’re heartbroken over the events in Christchurch today. We stand with our Kiwi friends and neighbors and our prayers are with you. Kia kaha. – U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown.