Tuesday, 1 March 2011 - 5:42am |
National News

Christchurch earthquake - 154 now confirmed dead

1 min read

The death toll in the Christchurch earthquake has now risen to 154 and is expected to increase further.

A four-strong DVI team from Queensland has now arrived in New Zealand to further bolster the numbers of people working to help identify those who have died. There are now more than 170 people involved in this phase of the operation.

Meanwhile police from New Zealand and Australia continue to patrol the Christchurch area and overnight have made 10 arrests. None of the arrests were earthquake related and it is pleasing to note that there have been no breaches of the cordon.

Police are receiving increasing reports of people entering buildings which have been declared unsafe and bear a red sticker.

"These buildings have a red sticker because they are dangerous and could collapse at any time," said Supt Russell Gibson. "Under the Civil Defence Act, Police people have the power to remove people by force if necessary but we would prefer common sense to prevail.

"We are also very aware of a growing frustration by people who have cars within the CBD they want to retrieve, and businesses that they want to check on. We understand these frustrations but the CBD is still fraught with danger and any access has to be controlled. At this stage our focus has to remain on the rescue operation."

Christchurch Media Liaison Team: 027 432 0960 or ChchPoliceMediaLiason@police.govt.nz
Public Affairs: 04 460 2986 or 04 474 9482