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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Latest information - Tuesday 8 March

Latest information - Tuesday

Last updated 19:29 08/03/2011

7.29pm: The first power generator airlifted from Australia kicked into gear in Christchurch today as energy provider Orion closes in on restoring power to the earthquake-ravaged city.

The 7-1/2-tonne apparatus, which can power up to 200 properties, was freighted from Townsville to Christchurch by the New Zealand air force on Sunday.

7.18pm: The Canterbury District Health Board is conducting a phone survey of quake-weary Christchurch residents in an effort to find out which health services and support they need.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey said many Christchurch residents were still living without basic services such as sewerage, power and clean drinking water.

"People without these essential services are at the greatest risk of illness at the moment. We need to get a better picture of the health risks they face," Dr Humphrey said.

The survey would take less than 10 minutes to complete, and would involved 500 randomly chosen people.

6.56pm: "One careful lady owner" is no longer a selling point for vehicles inside the Turners Auctions yard in Hornby thanks to Christchurch's earthquake. Cars previously maintained in pristine condition are also tangible reminders of the city's heartache.

Police, in conjunction with Civil Defence and Turners Auctions, are close to finalising a process where owners will be able to retrieve vehicles in working order, or salvage possessions from wrecks.

Driveable vehicles are already being towed to a police compound, while Shane Prince, Turners general manager of damaged vehicles, is overseeing the collection of write-offs.

Turners activated their disaster plan soon after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck and have brought in insurance assessors from around the country to work on a huge amount of damaged cars, trucks and utes.

Police have established a database of registration numbers of vehicles recorded parked inside the CBD in anticipation of a deluge of inquiries.

6.08pm: Nationally funded arts organisations are joining the bid to raise money for victims of the February 22 Christchurch earthquake.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) and Te Matatini are all organising free fund-raising events, Ministry for Culture and Heritage chief executive Lewis Holden said.

The NZSO will be collecting for the Red Cross earthquake appeal at its "Symphonic Odyssey" concert on March 12 in Auckland and then throughout its "Apotheosis" tour around New Zealand.

The RNZB will end its South Island leg of "Tutus on Tour" by dressing up in costume and meeting people out in the Christchurch community.

It will also give a free performance of Tutus on Tour in Christchurch as soon as possible.

And the best of the Te Matatini of Te Ra kapa haka finals in Gisborne will perform in Rotorua, with all ticket sale proceeds going to the appeal.

4.50pm: Police today released the names of 13 more victims from the February 22 earthquake.

They are:
Henry Ross Bush, 75 of Christchurch
Helen Margaret Chambers, 44 of Christchurch
Susan Patricia Chuter, 52 of Christchurch
Philip Graeme Reeve Coppeard, 41 of Christchurch
Estelle Marie Cullen, 32 of Christchurch
Marielle Falardeau, 60, of Canada
Normand Lee, 25 of Christchurch
Adrienne Isobel Lindsay, 54 of Christchurch
Kelsey Sinitta Moore, 18 of Christchurch
Jillian Lesley Murphy, 48 of Christchurch
Taneysha Gail Prattley, 5 weeks of Christchurch
Desley Ann Thomson, 32 of Christchurch
Siriphan Wongbunngam, 27 of Thailand

3.10pm: The Palms Shopping Centre in Shirley will be closed for up to six weeks to repair damage caused by Christchurch's magnitude 6.3 earthquake two weeks ago. It will re-open in phases as repairs are finished.

3.05pm: Plunket is warning displaced Christchurch families to be alert to unfamiliar dangers in the quake aftermath. They said many people were in different homes and needed to watch for risks to their children.

"It's understandable that attention may be diverted in times of grief, crisis and changed circumstance so taking simple precautions, such as shutting doors to close toilets off from young children, would be a great way to keep children safe from harm,'' Plunket national child safety adviser Sue Campbell told NZPA.

"Children love to explore new places and other adults may not realise there are dangers if they are not used to children visiting. Different homes have different dangers. If family or friends are going to care for your child, talk to them about safety risks in their homes, such as medications, poisons, road and driveway access, and how to make their homes safer for your child.

"The home you are currently staying in may be one that doesn't regularly have young children visiting or living in it. A quick check of the inside and outside environment, what needs to be placed up high out of reach, moved away or separated from a curious child can help to keep them safe," she said.

3.02pm: All Black great David Kirk will take part in a Christchurch Earthquake Appeal fundraiser in Sydney on Thursday. There will be an auction, raffle and door prizes at the North Bondi RSL event.

2.58pm: The Bluebridge ferry service is extending its cheap earthquake relief fares for those leaving Christchurch for the North Island until the end of March. Cantabrians can book the Cook Strait crossing fares - $25 for adults, $10 for children and $60 for cars one way - by calling Bluebridge.

2.55pm: ABC Learning Centres will offer a month's free childcare in the quake aftermath. The offer is for all children currently enrolled in its 27 affected centres and new enrolments, though preference will be given to existing families, those directly affected by the quake and the children of emergency service workers.

2.50pm: A fire ban is in place on all conservation land north of Rakaia while firefighters continue to work on Christchurch's earthquake recovery.

Although there is not a high fire risk, a grass fire at Taylor's Mistake last night showed how stretched resources are. The fire ignited at 6.30pm and burnt through 10 hectares before being put out, almost six hours later. Many firefighters had to be called back after finishing 12 hour shifts in the Christchurch CBD.

2.45pm: Wigram MP Jim Anderton has called for Kiwis to give up a day's pay rather than give Canterbury a public holiday. He said the holiday would not give Cantabrians any respite from their tough times, but a day's pay from every Kiwi worker could raise up to $800 million for the recovery effort.

2.40pm: Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has cut red tape to help the quake recovery effort, by making several adjustments to Earthquake laws. Three relate to the Resource Management Act, one of which streamlines the application process for land remediation work in Canterbury.

"Any notified resource consent in a normal situation can take six months or more to decide with any appeals potentially taking more than a year to resolve. We simply don't have that time to spare," Brownlee said.

The Education Act has also been amended to get schools running again as fast as possible.

2.32pm: Solid Energy expects to resume loading export coal ships at Lyttelton next week. The port's coal handling facilities have been closed since the February 22 quake.

2.25pm: Prime Minister John Key denies the Government is preparing for the Rugby World Cup financial loss to blow out because of the Christchurch quake. The shortfall was put at $40 million before the quake, and it has been estimated that could grow to $50m if the games must be moved from the city. Key plans to visit AMI Stadium this week.

2.10pm: Prime Minister John Key has paid tribute to Christchurch in Parliament this afternoon, as the flags from Government buildings are lifted from half mast.

Key said the tragedy was on a scale that could not be put into words, and had left people in New Zealand and around the world grieving. "Christchurch is a city that's been changed forever and a community that's in shock.

"Though we cannot imagine the deep sorrow and grief of all those who have lost loved ones, we can send you the promise of our ongoing support. We are thinking of you. We are standing alongside you."

Key said the Government was committed to rebuilding the city til it was "once again the successful, vibrant and beautiful city" it was before the quake.

Key also paid tribute to Mayor Bob Parker's leadership.

Labour leader Phil Goff said he had seen enormous community spirit in Christchurch since the quake. "I understand the pressure and the stress they are living under and that there is an end to everyone's patience."

He paid tribute to volunteers and emergency services who had worked around the clock to help people.

1.35pm: Encouraging more visitors to Canterbury will help Christchurch's tourism industry recover after the February 22 quake, a local tourism leader says.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said it would take time and money to re-establish the city as a top tourism destination. Several attractions were still operating, however.

"We're very pleased that a lot of travellers have chosen to push ahead with their plans to holiday in Canterbury because in doing so they're helping our economy and our industry at a very difficult and challenging time."

1.20pm: Emails claiming Kiwibank has lost customers' account details because of the quake are a scam, the bank says. The hoax email asks customers to provide their internet banking access numbers and passwords through a link to a replica Kiwibank website.

12.35pm: Access to the severely damaged red zone might be possible as early as Monday for business owners keen to retrieve crucial documents and equipment.

12.30pm: Education Minister Anne Tolley says more than 100 Christchurch schools have dates to re-open.
Twenty-one are already open, along with 88 early childhood education centres. 

11.07am: The number of people missing in the Christchurch quake has dropped to 122.

The current death toll stands at 166, but is expected to reach 200. Police say many of those missing would be among the dead at a temporary mortuary at Burnham Army Camp who have yet to be identified.

11am: Government is bracing for a downturn in international Rugby World Cup ticket sales because of the quake.

10.58am: Mayor Bob Parker says while 10,000 homes might be demolished, that many people will not be displaced as some land could be rebuilt on.

10.55am: Orion's Roger Sutton said 3500 customers were without power in the New Brighton and Dallington areas; 4500 in the CBD; 500-600 in Sumner-Recliffs and 500 scattered elsewhere around the city.

10.10am: Up to 9000 Christchurch jobs could be lost in the earthquake aftermath, says Westpac. The bank also estimates that the local economy will shrink by 15 per cent because of the quake.

9.45am: KiwiRail freight services on the main trunk line to Christchurch are operating at full speed.

KiwiRail says while trains do cause noise and vibrations, it is important for the local economy to get services back on schedule.

8.40am: Rock guitarist Carlos Santana has cancelled his Christchurch show because of the February 22 quake.

He was due to play the CBS Canterbury Arena on March 22, and will instead make a donation to the relief fund. His Auckland concert will go ahead on March 20, and Christchurch concert-goers will be refunded.

"While I live a long way from Christchurch, I have been a resident of San Francisco and I understand the power of an earthquake,'' Santana said. "My thoughts are with all people affected in Christchurch by the earthquake. I am looking to return under better times.''

8.25am: Urban search and rescue teams continue to work to clear the Forsyth Barr building.

There may be bodies inside, and USAR says it will take at least two more days to clear the building. The stairwell is the worst-hit area, though in some offices you couldn't tell there'd been an earthquake says USAR boss Jim Stewart-Black.

8.15am: Classes at Canterbury University will re-start from Monday in a temporary tent campus.

It appears the university has not suffered major damage in the quake, but buildings are still being checked. Marquees will be set up on the School of Law car park and the Arts car park.

8.08am: The IRB has been talking to Government about the future of the Rugby World Cup in Christchurch.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the IRB needed to be satisfied the stadium was safe and the matches could go ahead. He said Canterbury was a passionate rugby region and having the Cup there would be a great experience.

8.05am: Brownlee says the furore around saving heritage buildings is misplaced. He said while it was desirable to preserve buildings, the priority was making the city safe for locals. He has been criticised for saying heritage buildings should be bulldozed.

8am: An English entrepreneur has given $4 million towards the rebuild of the shattered ChristChurch Cathedral.

7.51am: Dozens of quake-damaged trees will be chopped down in Hagley Park today. The trees suffered root damage and are in danger of falling over, posing a safety risk for the public.

7.28am: It will be a few weeks before it is known which Christchurch streets or areas can't be rehabilitated, PM says.

John Key said the earthquake caused substantially more land damage this time than in the first quake.

7.26am: Fire Service says it continues to monitor Christchurch for any gas leaks following the quake.

7.05am: Civil Defence boss John Hamilton urges people to remain patient as clean up continues.

6.26am: Christchurch mayor Bob Parker has talked of a remembrance walk in the city.

6.17am: Ten more schools are due to open in Christchurch today.

Aftershocks have continued in Christchurch overnight. Tremors ranged from magnitude 3 up to a magnitude 4.3 which struck at 11.26pm. All of the aftershocks were centred within 10km of the city.

- Stuff and NZPA

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