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Friday, March 4, 2011

Latest information Thursday 3 March

Christchurch earthquake: Latest information - Thursday

Last updated 22:29 03/03/2011
10.29pm: Christchurch residents are being urged to take care around large trees as their root systems may have been weakened in last week's magnitude 6.3 earthquake.

At least 161 people died in the quake, and the toll is expected to rise.

A Civil Defence spokesman tonight said property owners needed to get large trees checked by a qualified arborist.

"People are urged to take extreme care around large trees, which may have suffered damage to their root systems, and could fall over as a result of wind or further aftershocks," the spokesman said.

7.04pm: Mail deliveries have resumed from five of Christchurch's six delivery branches, NZ Post says.

Deliveries stopped after last Tuesday's devastating 6.3-magnitude quake but mail was now being delivered to about 4000 streets, which represented about 80 percent of the city, an NZ Post spokesman said.

"New Zealand Post is providing a free mail redirection service for Christchurch customers affected by the earthquake," the spokesman said.

6.37pm: Searchers are close to entering the collapsed spire of ChristChurch Cathedral, where up to 22 people are believed to have been killed.

6.13pm: Twenty-two thousand Christchurch properties remain without power following last Tuesday's devastating magnitude 6.3 earthquake.

A spokesman for lines company Orion said about 15,500 of the 22,000 were in the Brighton and Dallington suburbs. However, the Brighton substation was operational and the process of reconnecting customers in

Brighton and Dallington was under way.

"We cannot identify which pockets of customers or suburbs will be reconnected first, except to say they will be on the ends of the least damaged cables," the spokesman said.

4.50pm: Prime Minister John Key says potentially 100 international people have been killed in the quake.

The total loss of life was likely to be one of New Zealand's biggest. A national memorial service would likely be held in the last half of March, he said.

3pm: Officials say the official search for survivors has been called off and the rescue operation is now a body recovery.

2.50pm: A Civil Defence spokeswoman says 86 portaloos are being delivered today to several Christchurch areas.

They will be placed in the main roads in Avondale and Dallington, including Mcbratneys Rd, Gayhurst Rd and River Rd. Another 120 will be delivered tomorrow, boosting the 912 already distributed around the city. A further 960 will be shipped from the United States this weekend, though it is unclear when they will arrive.

2.40pm: The Queen Elizabeth 2 Park recreation and sport centre has been closed indefinitely due to quake damage.

2.10pm: Most Sumner residents evacuated amid fears about rockfalls can return to their homes.

No rocks have fallen in any of the aftershocks since the February 22 quake, and helicopter checks will be carried out over the next month to ensure any loose rock is removed or secured before winter. The evacuation notices have been lifted for homes in Finnsarby Place, lower Sumnervale Drive and Haberden Avenue. It excludes Wakefield Ave on the western side between the Croquet Club and Nayland St intersection.

12.40pm: Lawyers are being told to show tolerance and empathy for colleagues caught up in the quake.

The Law Society says some lawyers are pressuring Christchurch colleagues to complete commercial or property settlements. President Jonathan Temm has emailed lawyers, urging them to be realistic and responsible given many Christchurch lawyers have lost their offices and therefore access to files.

12.38pm: More than 50 embalmers, funeral directors and support staff have been enlisted by the Funeral Directors Association to ease the workload on Christchurch's 10 funeral homes as the city prepares for mass funerals.

12pm: Christchurch is "utterly" committed to holding its Rugby World Cup matches, says Mayor Bob Parker.

The quake-ravaged city is scheduled to host five pool games and two quarterfinals in the tournament, which begins September 9. No decision has yet been made about the cup's future in Christchurch.

11.15am: The Duchess of Cornwall is the latest member of the royal family to sign the book of condolence at NZ House in London. 

11.30am: New Brighton residents will start getting electricity supplies back from tonight, Orion says.

Around 16,000 of the 24,000 properties still without power in Christchurch are in the eastern suburbs of New Brighton and Dallington. Orion cautioned that just a few hundred houses at a time would get power reconnected.

11.06am: Around 5000 Kiwis attended the just-finished vigil for quake victims at London's Westminster Cathedral.

11.05am: Plans are being developed to allow the public to visit the devastated central city area in the coming weeks. Mayor Bob Parker said it was important for people's grieving process to see the damage.

11am: The death toll has risen to 161, and police have named the first two international victims of the quake.

They are both from Israel - Ofer Levy and Gabi Ingel. Seven further victims have been identified, but their names will not be released until all family members are informed.

10.50am: Australian rugby coach and former Christchurch resident Robbie Deans is reportedly in the city helping with the clean up.

10.05am: More funerals take place today, the first is for Jeff Sanft, the cousin of Christchurch rapper Scribe.

10am: First prize in Saturday's special earthquake Powerball lotto jackpot will be at least $17 million.

9.20am: Corporates are digging deep for the quake appeal, with several banks and power companies donating $1m each.

8.15am: People can apply online from later today for the emergency Red Cross hardship grants.

Application forms will also be distributed around welfare centres in Christchurch. Red Cross will pay families of quake victims a $10,000 cash grant, while emergency hardship grants of $1000 for families and $500 for individuals are also available. 

7.45am: Limited bus services resumed in Christchurch at 7am today. Buses will be free for two weeks.

Officials hope the bus services will reduce traffic congestion in the city.

7.30am: Officials are working on a plan to allow restricted access to the devastated central city area.

Business owners have been agitating to get to their offices to gather equipment, and other people want to get their cars, which have been parked in the city since the February 22 quake. Police say they understand people's frustration, but safety is paramount and they will carefully manage access into the cordoned off area.

7am: Hayley Westenra will sing the national anthem at a memorial service to get underway in London soon.

The vigil, being held at Westminster Cathedral, is for New Zealanders in London, and more than 2000 people are expected. Tributes will be read from Prime Minister John Key and All Black captain Richie McCaw, and a collection for the appeal will be held.

6.47am: Police say the names of more victims will be released today. The death toll stands at 160.
One man was arrested overnight for looting after being caught inside the cordon.

6.42am: High winds are forecast for Christchurch again today and police suggest locals stay home to avoid any resulting dust storms and falling masonry.

6.40am: Power has been restored to 87% of the city, though a third of households are still without water.  

6.37am: Mayor Bob Parker says the rebuild of Christchurch will be dedicated to the dead and missing.

6.10am: Christchurch has been shaken by seven aftershocks overnight - the biggest of which was magnitude 3.9.

- Stuff

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