Police today held two meetings with families of victims believed to have died in the Christchurch earthquake.
One meeting was held for overseas families, the other for local families.
At the meetings, each family was connected with a Police family liaison officer, who will provide a consistent point of contact and update families as the identification process continues.
"We are systematically treating every one of those loved-ones with the care and dignity they deserve," says Canterbury District Commander, Superintendent Dave Cliff.
"We are doing everything humanly possible to return them to their loved ones as soon as possible."
Rushing the process would pose a very real risk that the wrong loved one could be returned to the wrong family, he says.
"Many of these people have been very badly hurt," he says. "The opportunity to visually identify them is very limited, so we are relying on other means of identification such as DNA testing, fingerprints and dental records."
Mr Cliff says every family member who has been in contact with Police has been linked up with a family liaison officer. He urges any family members who have not yet connected with Police to do so.
He says Police hold "grave concerns" for more than 200 other people believed to have been in the CBD when the earthquake struck.
0274 320 960 or ChchPoliceMediaLiason@police.govt.nz