Mon, February 28, 2011
World > Asia-Pacific > Earthquake rocks New Zealand

NZ's Christchurch quake death toll stands at 147

2011-02-27 11:54:34 GMT2011-02-27 19:54:34(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Rescuers work at quake-hit PG building in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb. 27, 2011. The confirmed death toll from the New Zealand Christchurch earthquake rose to 146 on Sunday, while the number of missing people remains at more than 200. (Xinhua/Li Qiuchan)

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The toll from Christchurch's magnitude 6.3 earthquake stood at 147, New Zealand police said on Sunday.

They plan to release two more victims' names on Monday, bringing to eight the total number of people officially named as fatalities from the quake.

Superintendent Dave Cliff said more than 200 people were missing in the worst disaster of the city.

People from more than 20 countries are among the dead, he said.

Search and rescue teams continued to scour the rubble of buildings that collapsed in the earthquake on Tuesday, but no survivors have been found since Wednesday afternoon.

Cliff said situations where there was intense fire, as there had been at the Canterbury Television (CTV) building, presented real difficulty and there is a risk not all those who died will be able to be identified.

"I don't want to pre-empt what will happen in respect to that, but we need to brace ourselves for the fact that that possibility does exist. We are not at that point yet, but it presents a risk." he told a press conference.

Cliff said a large number of people from overseas have been reported missing but are most likely safe. He reiterated his plea for overseas visitors to contact their families or the Red Cross to confirm they are safe.

Water supplies remained cut to 55,000 properties on Sunday and Civil Defence said at least six reservoirs were too damaged to be used.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said 65 percent of homes are connected to water supply and the city's waste water plant is running at about 35 percent capacity. He reiterated that all water must be boiled, even if it comes out of a tap.

By Sunday, 7,000 buildings in the suburbs had been checked and officials aimed to get to 50,000 properties by the end of the week.

On Saturday, 105 buildings were declared unsafe out of the 4, 000 that had been visited by then.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Sunday launched the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, a global fund raiser for the recovery effort.

The aim was to reach as many people as possible throughout the world who wanted to help, he said.

Quake-damaged vehicles are seen in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb. 27, 2011. The confirmed death toll from the New Zealand Christchurch earthquake rose to 146 on Sunday, while the number of missing people remains at more than 200. (Xinhua/Li Qiuchan)

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