NZ quake toll at 71, no more survivors found

A church was destroyed in Christchurch.

New Zealand’s earthquake death toll was confirmed at 71, but Prime Minister John Key said the country must expect it to rise.

The 6.3-magnitude quake devastated Christchurch, the country’s second-biggest city, and rescue teams combed through rubble for a second night under searchlights. Searchers found no more survivors from Tuesday’s earthquake.

The death toll was previously put at 75, but officials revised that. “We have currently in morgues across the city 71 people confirmed dead, we are aware there are other bodies but we haven’t got a number on that,” Civil Defense Minister John Carter told reporters.

He said early reports of up to 300 other people missing was speculation, and it was not known how many were unaccounted for.

Carter said around 2,500 people have been injured, 164 seriously.

Police said they were still holding out hope that people were still alive in wrecked buildings.

Signs of life

Signs of life have been detected in a building in the quake struck New Zealand city of Christchurch, a rescue official said yesterday. 

“We have an active operation under way at the moment to try and ascertain what’s happening,” fire rescue official Jim Stuart Black told TV3.

No survivors have been found since midafternoon yesterday.


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