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Prince William remembers NZ and Japan quake victims

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Media captionPrince William: "We honour the memory of all those who did not survive"

Prince William has offered condolences to the people of Japan, while paying tribute to the victims of last month's earthquake in New Zealand.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 30,000 people at a national memorial for quake victims in Christchurch, he said: "This community... can appreciate the full horror of what is unfolding in Japan."

The prince is on a tour of disaster-hit areas in New Zealand and Australia.

He also saw the scene of a mine blast and will go on to flood-hit Australia.

Speaking in Christchurch, on New Zealand's South Island, the prince said the world had watched the city's resolute response to the disaster with awe and admiration.

"Courage and understated determination have always been the hallmark of New Zealanders," he said.

"But to see them so starkly demonstrated over these terrible, painful months has been humbling. Put simply, you are an inspiration to all people."

'Be strong'

He added: "My grandmother once said that grief is the price we pay for love. Here, today, we love, and we grieve."

Prince William concluded with a message from the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family which he said united all the stories he had heard on his visit - "kia kaha", Maori for "be strong".

He said the ordeal endured by residents of Christchurch, New Zealand's second largest city, gave them a unique insight into the situation now facing Japan, where thousands of people were killed by last Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them too," the prince told the memorial service.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key also used the memorial to extend sympathies to Japan.

"Even today as we mourn here, we think of Japan's desperate plight," he said.

He said the images from the country brought "flooding back the raw emotional pain that accompanies such a devastating event".

The number confirmed killed during the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch, on 22 February, stands at 166 but officials have said it is likely to rise to 182.

Earlier on Friday, Prince William was greeted by thousands of well-wishers as he visited another town badly hit by the quake.

He met crowds who turned out in the seaside town of Sumner, near Christchurch, where three people are believed to have died and many houses have been left uninhabitable.

Claire Fox, 81, and neighbour Alison Marshall, 66, said the earthquake had been terrifying but the prince's visit was a boost for people in the town.

Mrs Fox said: "He is gorgeous, I think it's just so special."

Queensland floods

Prince William has also travelled to Greymouth to meet families of the 29 victims of the Pike River mine disaster last November.

On Thursday Prince William saw for himself the damage caused by the quake in Christchurch and met rescue workers.

"The scale of it is unbelievable," he said as he toured the centre of the city.

In Australia, he will go to several locations in Queensland over two days followed by a visit to north-west Victoria.

Parts of the country were affected by torrential rains starting in November last year, leading rivers to burst their banks.

The prince, who is making the trip without his fiancee Kate Middleton, is travelling on behalf of the Queen.

Speaking earlier this month, a St James's Palace spokesman said the visit had been arranged following invitations from the prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia.

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