Christchurch earthquake: Latest news - Wednesday

Last updated 20:37 02/03/2011
CARRYING ON: Omar Yusaf spent last Tuesday saving  others while fearing for his 13-year-old daughter's life.  ``I just had to keep doing what I was doing and trust that her teachers had managed to get her out of the building and  to a place of safety. I found that absolutely terrifying.''
CHRIS SKELTON/ The Dominion Post Zoom
CARRYING ON: Omar Yusaf spent last Tuesday saving others while fearing for his 13-year-old daughter's life. "I just had to keep doing what I was doing and trust that her teachers had managed to get her out of the building and to a place of safety. I found that absolutely terrifying.''
Prime minster John key
Andrew Gorrie/Dominion Post Zoom
Members of the public shake hands with Prime Minister John Key following a ceremony held in Christchurch.
Christchurch earthquake victim Shane Tomlin's funeral
DEREK FLYNN/Marlborough Express Zoom
SAD GOODBYE: Christchurch earthquake victim Shane Tomlin was laid to rest after a funeral in Kaikoura.

Police life inside the cordon

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Christchurch earthquake

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LATEST: 8.37pm: A third of Christchurch households remain disconnected from the city's water supply following last week's earthquake.

Water had been restored to 67 percent of households and tankers were delivering water to areas without supply.

People were reminded to boil all water before drinking, including tanker water, de-salinated water and normal tap water.

If people were unable to boil they were advised to add 1 teaspoon of bleach for every 10 litres of water and leave for 30 minutes before drinking.

Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) advised people to stay away from all beaches between the Waimakariri River and Lyttelton Harbour, which were contaminated with sewage.

"Testing has confirmed that water at some Christchurch beaches is contaminated at levels that could make people very ill from contact," said medical officer of health Ramon Pink.

It was "extremely important" for people to follow this advice due to the risk of gastroenteritis outbreaks, Dr Pink said.

7.26pm: Deteriorating weather conditions have hampered the Christchurch earthquake rescue mission.

A wind storm which struck the city today meant dust and debris was being whipped around the city, Superintendent Dave Cliff said.

"A lot of dust, debris, and in some cases corrugated iron, [is] blowing around the central city.

"So there's a real hazard in there."

Thousands of people have resorted to using free masks handed out to deal with the dust, which health officials could be dangerous to people with asthma and respiratory illness.

5.52pm: Strong winds are threatening to topple the historic Lyttelton Timeball Station.

Lyttelton fire chief Mark Buckley said one property has been evacuated and part of Reserve Terrace has been cordoned off.

Engineers are currently inspecting the site, but no action will be taken to demolish the building at this stage.

The families of victims of the Christchurch earthquake will be given a $10,000 cash grant from the New Zealand Red Cross.

The charity organisation has also announced emergency hardship grants of $1000 for families and $500 for single people.

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5.47pm: Civil defence is working on allowing people to either collect cars from inside cordon, or have them driven out and picked up by owners.

5.46pm: The earthquake death toll has risen to 160, Superintendent Dave Cliff says.

5.10pm: More than 5000 analogue phones have been distributed to  Christchurch residents - and more are on the way.

Telecom had a "fantastic'' response after asking New Zealanders to donate their old telephones so those without power were still able to make phone calls, Telecom chief executive officer Paul Reynolds said.

4.25pm:
About 25,000 houses and businesses in Christchurch remain without electricity this afternoon.

Orion has restored power to 87 percent of customers following last Tuesday's 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which has so far claimed 159 lives and destroyed many parts of the city.

Around 16,600 of those awaiting reconnection are in the eastern suburbs of Brighton and Dallington, where there are 80 broken 11kV cables. Each cable takes power to anywhere between 100 and 3000 homes.

4.04pm: Free gas cylinder refills will be available at three sites until Friday, but refills at other sites will not be available after 5pm today.

Contact Energy has refilled more than 12,000, 9-kilogram cylinders since Friday last week to help those devastated by last Tuesday's quake.

Filling stations open until Friday 5pm are Butler Automart in Richmond, Mobil Wainoni and Contact Rockgas in Sydenham.

3.25pm: Prime Minister John Key says he will hit up his former colleagues from the financial world for quake donations.

Key said $500,000 was collected in half-an-hour while he was on an Australian morning radio show and an unnamed British man had indicated he would donate $4 million.

2.55pm: Several bars around New Zealand will hold a minute's silence at 7pm on Friday as a mark of respect for quake victims.

In addition, the profits from their beer sales on Friday night will be donated to the Red Cross earthquake appeal.

2.35pm: A Japanese reporter in Christchurch has lost his media accreditation after shouldering a police officer.

The man shouldered Canterbury police commander Superintendent Dave Cliff at the end of an interview this morning. He has not been charged, but police say such behaviour will not be tolerated. About 500 journalists from around the world are in Christchurch.

2.10pm: More than 5000 old analogue telephones have been delivered to quake-affected Christchurch residents.

Telecom asked Kiwis to donate their old phones for the campaign, and more are on their way to the city. And more than 55,000 calls have been made from the 260 Telecom phone booths across Christchurch.

1.50pm: More details have been revealed about ACC entitlements for quake victims.

Families of dead victims are paid a $5541 funeral grant; a one-off survivor grant to partners of the dead of $5940 and $2970 for each child under 18; as well as income compensation and childcare assistance. Medical costs of the injured are paid, as well as weekly income compensation of 80 per cent of earnings until the injured person returns to work.

12.55pm: Prime Minister John Key says the Christchurch rebuild could take 15 years, and one in three CBD buildings could be demolished. The central city might be closed until Christmas.

12.30pm: Around 500 Canterbury University students will move to Adelaide to continue their studies.

12.25pm: ACC faces a $370 million bill from the Christchurch earthquake. The figure includes payouts to families of those killed, and the ongoing care of the injured.

12.10pm: It will be some weeks before a stocktake of the damaged central city hotels can be taken.

About 1300 hotel rooms are currently unavailable because they are inside the cordon, though some are not thought to be seriously damaged. 

11.55am: Health bosses admit families of some elderly patients weren't told they'd been moved.

The district health board has moved about 300 elderly patients out of quake-damaged care facilities to other Christchurch and South Island locations, and while it had tried to contact all families, some had not been reached.

11.50am: The 7000 Christchurch "refugees" who have relocated to Timaru now make up 20% of its population.

11.30am: Canterbury University has posted a $12.4m surplus, including a $26.4m writedown on repairs after the last quake.

The university is still closed after last week's quake, but is largely undamaged.

11am: More homes in Sumner, near the RSA, were evacuated overnight after fears an unstable cliff would come down.

10.44am: Police have released the names of three more earthquake victims.

They are Jayden Andrews-Howland, 15; Paul Clarence Dunlop, 67 and Andrew Stephen Cochrane, 43, all of Christchurch.

Russell Wood from the Fire Services says Urban Search and Rescue teams have now made it to the 10th floor of the 26-storey Hotel Grand Chanchellor, but cannot get any higher up. They have cleared the building and no casulaties were found.

The steel support structure for the ChristChurch Cathedral is nearly finished and will be installed today, to allow search teams to enter the spire. It is believed about 22 bodies are buried in the rubble there.

USAR teams could not work in winds beyond 90kmh, and currently winds were at 70kmh.

10.39am: The earthquake death toll has risen to 159.

10.35am: Millions of face masks are being rushed into Christchurch as strong winds whip up choking dust storms.

Winds gusting up to 90kmh are buffeting the quake-damaged city this morning, raising concerns about people breathing in possibly contaminated dust and debris.

10.05am: Economic growth will be "severely dented" by the Christchurch earthquake, Business NZ says.

10am: The disaster identification team's working day is being extended from 8am to 6pm until 10pm each night as they work to identify the dead. Families probably know "in their heart of hearts" that missing loved ones are dead, says chief coroner Judge Neil MacLean.

9.25am: Retail spending has halved since the quake, with sales down around $5 million a day.

9.15am: Ten quake victims in Christchurch Hospital have had limbs amputated.

8.40am: Three bodies were recovered from the pancaked Pyne Gould building overnight, police say.

British rescuers at the site stopped work briefly early this morning for a moving karakia, police say. Many had missed yesterday's two minutes' silence and wanted to show their respect.

8.10am: Christchurch beaches are still contaminated, so locals are being warned not to swim in them.

Around 19 primary schools will re-open later this week or early next week.

8.05am: The words on one of the time capsules discovered yesterday were reportedly recorded in 1918.

Mayor Bob Parker described the discovery of the two time capsules in a toppled statue in Cathedral Square as "remarkable". A piece of paper that fell out of the broken glass capsule contained words reportedly recorded in a 1918 issue of the Nelson-based Colonist newspaper. The capsules will be preserved at the city museum.

7.55am: Eight more British disaster identification experts arrive in Christchurch today to help with the gruelling task of identifying victims. Meanwhile, the Israel government will complain to Prime Minister John Key after an offer of help from search and rescue teams was reportedly refused by New Zealand.

7.05am: Christchurch will escape the rising petrol prices coming into effect around New Zealand today. The price for 91 octane is at a two-year high of $2.07, but oil companies are sparing Christchurch the five cents a litre rise.

6.57am: Police say more bodies were recovered overnight. The names of 12 victims are expected to be released today. Just eight of the expected 240 dead have been named so far.

There were more arrests overnight. One person was caught breaking the cordon, another two breaking into a bar, and a fourth man was caught with jewellery allegedly stolen from homes.

6.50am: Next month's Canterbury University graduations have reportedly been cancelled to reduce the impact on the city's damage

6.30am: High winds gusting up to 90kmh are forecast for the city today, raising concerns about dust storms.

The wind is already picking up this morning, and Mayor Bob Parker advises people to wear facemasks to reduce irritation from the dust, which is not thought to be toxic. Police and other search and rescue workers are wearing masks and protective glasses today. Water tankers are hosing areas where USAR staff are working in an attempt to reduce dust levels.

6.20am: Limited bus services will resume in Christchurch at 7am tomorrow, and travel will be free for two weeks.

6am: There were two aftershocks in Christchurch overnight - a 3.6 magnitude quake at 10.12pm and a 4.6 magnitude tremor at 10.42pm, both centred near Lyttelton.

- Stuff

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