Christchurch earthquake - latest news

09:03, Feb 28 2011

10:02pm: A 3.6 aftershock, at a depth of 7km hit 10km northeast of Lyttelton at 9:11pm tonight.

8.21pm: Prime Minister John Key will travel to Christchurch tomorrow to observe the nationwide two minutes' silence for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

7.22pm: The Federated Farmers led "Farmy Army" has today removed in excess of 1,100 tonnes of liquefaction from homes in the New Brighton area. 

"Today we had 200 volunteers but were bolstered by over 20 diggers," says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers earthquake spokesperson.

5.45pm: Recovery operations in the CTV building will be moved to daylight hours only from tomorrow.

5.32pm: Mayor Bob Parker says there will be no penalties for late payments of rates, due today.


4.39pm: Earthquake support payments to workers and employers will be in bank accounts by Wednesday.

4.30pm: An emergency medical information provider says it is vital that people keep their MedicAlert information up to date. People who wear the MedicAlert identity bracelet should go to securely update their emergency contact and personal information.

4.01pm: Resources at Women's Refuge centres in Christchurch are being stretched to the hilt.

Women's Affairs Minister Hekia Parata visited one centre in the city today and said staff were experiencing a heavy demand. 

3.58pm: St John has set up a new website for people wanting to donate following Christchurch's devastating earthquake.

The website offers people a fast and practical way to donate to St John, which is providing a vital service to quake hit Christchurch, St John spokesman Gerry Fitzgerald said.

3.20pm: A community meeting will be held at 5pm for the owners of 200 properties evacuated earlier today near Sumner.

The meeting will be held at the old Sumner School in Wiggins Street, for those affected in the Redcliffs-Clifton area.

They were evacuated after concerns about cracks in the cliffs above the houses, though initial indications show there has been little movement.

3.15pm: Christchurch residents can leave messages in a book of condolence from tomorrow.

The book will be at the Archery Lawn in the Botanic Gardens between 8am and 4pm daily.

3.10pm: Westfield's Riccarton mall has completed safety checks and retailers will re-open in stages, starting with the ground floor.

3.05pm: The Chinese government has announced a $666,000 donation to the Christchurch earthquake appeal.

In making the $US500,000 donation, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao extended his deep condolences to New Zealand. Many Chinese students are believed buried in the CTV building.

2.40pm: A West Coast man has been detained in custody for a month after posing as a rescue worker.

Police were concerned that Jason Henry Bevington's lack of training or credentials could put the public and other search and rescue staff at risk, the Christchurch Court News website reported.

He was charged with falsely representing himself as a rescue team member, and possession of offensive weapons - knives, a baton, and an axe.

2.25pm: Christchurch residents are being reminded to boil water after outbreaks of gastroenteritis.

It was likely people had got sick after brushing their teeth in water they hadn't boiled. Officials are considering chlorinating the water.

1.30pm: The ANZ fundraising appeal for quake-ravaged Christchurch stands at $1.6 million, the bank says.

1pm: The funeral for the first quake victim, five-month-old Baxtor Gowland, is held in Christchurch.

Crews are working to stabilise the damaged ChristChurch Cathedral, where about 22 people are believed dead.

One wall is particularly unstable and search and rescue crews can't enter until it is stablished. A large steel structure is being erected, and steel pipes are in place as immediate places of refuge for USAR staff when aftershocks hit.

12.15pm: Rugby World Cup boss Martin Snedden has called off an overseas trip because of the earthquake.

It is not yet known if RWC games will go ahead in Christchurch.

Education Minister Anne Tolley says correspondence school is being considered for students affected by the quake. Tolley is in Christchurch visiting the worst-affected schools and with 29 known to be seriously damaged, she said 10,000 to 15,000 students could be affected.

12pm: Chief coroner Neil MacLean has assured families of those killed that their loved ones are being treated with respect.

He said bodies would be released to families as soon as possible, but there had to be absolute certainty around identification before that could happen. He said in most cases visual identification was not possible, so fingerprints, DNA and dental records needed to be used.

11.45am: The HMNZS Canterbury is on its way back to Christchurch with water, medical supplies and bedding.

It also has Telecom equipment, a fuel tanker, diesel generators and 20 4WD vehicles. It left Wellington this morning and should reach Lyettelton about 6pm.

Defence Force staff serving in Timor-Leste have held a church service to reflect on the tragedy.

11.12am: Fire Service says some areas are still too unsafe for rescue teams to venture into.

11.10am: Superintendent Dave Cliff says body identification process is charged with emotion.

11.01am: Mayor Bob Parker says an inquiry should be held in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Parker says public safety is paramount.

10.59am: Rescue crews have cleared the area around the listing Hotel Grand Chancellor.

However, they have not yet been able to enter the building. The hotel is leaning but has not moved for some time.

10.50am: Mayor Bob Parker says 55,000 properties don't have water, but 85 per cent of the city now has power.

10.41am: Of the two people arrested overnight, one was charged with possession of offensive weapons.

He was found with knives, a police baton and axe.

10:37am: Police release names of two more people killed in the quake and say toll is now 148.

Natasha Sarah Hadfield, 38, of Kaiapoi and Owen Morris Wright, 40, Lyttelton, are confirmed dead.

10:35am: Strong winds are forecast for Christchurch today, prompting concerns about dust storms and falling masonry.

10.16am: A magnitude 4.3 quake shakes the city.

9.30am: Donations to the Red Cross appeal have passed the $5 million mark.

The tally stands at $5.2m, with $2m of that begin donated in the last 24 hours.

8.45am: Workplaces and schools are being encouraged to take part in a "red and black" mufti day.

The fundraiser is being planned for Friday, and those taking part are being asked to make a gold coin donation.

8.40am: About 60 properties at Clifton Hill and Redcliffs are being evacuated over concerns about cracks in the cliffs above the houses.

8.15am: At least 755 central city buildings face demolition after being "red stickered".

Inspection of all CBD buildings outside the no-go zones is complete. A further 909 buildings have been "yellow stickered", granting limited access, and 1276 buildings are "green stickered" meaning they are fine to enter.

8.01am: Police have closed the main road into Sumner to assess the stability of rockfaces in the area between Cave Terrace and Nayland St. To get to Sumner people should use Evans Pass via Mount Pleasant Rd and Summit Rd.

7.30pm: Civil Defence boss John Hamilton says all options will be explored to re-house Christchurch people.

He says temporary subdivisions on the outskirts of the city could be built.

Two teenage criminals used last week's quake to make a dash for freedom from a Child, Youth and Family facility in the city. After stealing a car they drove to Picton, crossed on the Cook Strait ferry and caught the bus to New Plymouth where they were arrested.

7.18am: It would be a "big call" to relocate Christchurch's CBD, said Prime Minister John Key.

7.10am: Police tell central city business owners they are doing all they can to keep their properties safe in the face of looters.

They warn that curfew breakers who break the cordon could find themselves behind bars.

6.50am: Education Minister Anne Tolley says 29 schools in Christchurch are severely damaged.

6.38am: Police have made two more arrests overnight, one for breaking the cordon around the central city.

6.21am: Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says quake shows all New Zealanders must have a plan for when a big one strikes.

6.15am: Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says thousands of chemical toilets have been ordered for residents.

6.14am: Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says staff have visited 10,000 homes in the city.

6.12am: Christchurch schools will remained closed for at least the rest of the week.

6.00am: All Blacks legend John Kirwan has joined Japanese rugby officials collecting donations for earthquake victims.

Kirwan, who now coaches the Japan national team, stood outside the Tokyo venue of the All-Japan Championship final with a collection box, receiving money and shaking fans' hands.