Names of those killed in the earthquake delayed #eqnz

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(Source | TVNZ) Police say the release of a list of names of those dead and missing following the Christchurch earthquake has been delayed.

The first official information about those who died or are feared trapped under rubble in the city was due at 4pm.

However, Canterbury District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff has since announced that he will not now provide an update on progress with the list until a media briefing at 6pm this evening.

Police have taken over control of the details due to confusion and fears of incorrect information.

There are known to be 76 bodies in Christchurch’s morgues but Cliff said: “This remains a rescue operation. There could be people alive, we don’t know.”

He said that as well as the 76 bodies identified there are more bodies being recovered all the time.

He confirmed that at the CTV building, “we are satisfied there is no sign of survival” and there could be up to 120 people missing there.

Body bags were being removed from there this morning.

Police Minister Judith Collins saluted the bravery of emergency staff and rescue workers from New Zealand and overseas.

She paid tribute to one fireman who crawled into the PGC building to pull a woman to safety yesterday.

Collins has visited the CTV building and PGC building sites today and said: “It was a scene of utter devastation. I have never seen anything like it.”

Rescue teams are using acoustic equipment and dog teams as they search thecity on a grid basis.

Number of countries

Prime Minister John Key earlier said it was likely that people from a number of countries have lost their lives but the picture would not become clearer until later today or tomorrow.

No one was rescued overnight and rescue operations at Holy Cross Chapel and a building in Gloucester St this morning found no signs of life.

Police have taken control of the lists of missing to ensure they are accurate and get a better idea of numbers.

Civil Defence Minister John Carter confirmed hospitals in Christchurch have seen 431 patients, 164 of them seriously injured. There have been up to 2000 other people through with minor injuries.

Superintendent Russell Gibson, the overnight commander, said several more bodies were found overnight.

“Unfortunately we haven’t managed to pull any more survivors out of the rubble, we have found a few more bodies, it’s been a slow, meticulous operation and it just continues,” he said.

He said while it’s disappointing no-one’s been pulled alive from Christchurch’s wreckage since yesterday afternoon, that doesn’t mean it can’t still happen. “We are still looking for survivors,” he said.

“Experts tell me there are pockets within a number of these buildings and provided people haven’t been crushed there is no reason to expect that we will not continue to get survivors out of there.”

State of emergency still in place

The government yesterday declared a national state of emergency for the first time, following what the Prime Minister described as the “death and destruction on a dreadful scale” of the quake.

Key said Cabinet would today discuss funding strategies for quake-affected people and, as with the September 4 quake, some sort of package was likely to be brought in.

He said this morning that the country was in a place to pay to repair the damage and rebuild Christchurch’s economy.

“We can afford to take the hit,” he told ONE News.

More international assistance

International search and rescue teams will continue to arrive to help with quake relief effort today, bringing the total number of overseas specialists in Christchurch to around 750.

They are from Australia, Singapore, Japan, Britain and the US and will be doing grid searches in parts of city not yet reached, including outer suburbs.

In the CBD, it is believed four main sites are still being searched for survivors.

Between 16 and 22 people are believed to have died when Christchurch Cathedral collapsed.

Police dogs had been through the area of the 130-year-old city landmark and police are confident there are no survivors there.

Most of Chch still without water

Civil Defence says food and fuel supplies are reaching Christchurch, but water is still the main worry following Tuesday’s earthquake.

Around 80% of Christchurch is still without mains water. There are 14 locations across the city where people can get fresh water, including six schools .

Nine further sites where people can collect boiled water will open later today and 34 tankers were also being sent in to the city later this morning.

Power has been restored to just over 60% of the Christchurch area with progress slow in the eastern suburbs due to widespread damage to infrastructure.

Canterbury Civil Defence group controller Ken Taylor said Foodstuffs had confirmed yesterday that all of its Christchurch stores were open, sufficiently stocked, and the company was working to overcome logistical issues.

Progressive Enterprises also had a number of its stores open and the remainder would open to the public when possible.

Fuel was being transported to Christchurch through the port at Timaru, he said.

Carter said the Lyttelton tunnel was still closed however major roads and highways are open with only minor damage.

The rail link between Picton and Christchurch is now open.

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