Six more Christchurch earthquake victims named

Last updated 19:58 05/03/2011
MARCUS WILD

Six more names have been added to the list of victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

Elite Fitness business co-owner Ian Kirk
ANDREW GORRIE/The Dominion Post Zoom
Elite Fitness business co-owner Ian Kirk hurries to clear his Montreal St premises after been allowed back inside the cordon area.

Christchurch CBD cordon to be relaxed.

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Christchurch earthquake

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A 4.8 magnitude aftershock has shaken Christchurch this evening, being felt as far away as Timaru.

The aftershock struck at 7.34pm within 5km of Lyttelton at a depth of 11km.

VICTIMS NAMED

Six more names have been added to the list of victims of the Christchurch earthquake.

This afternoon police released the names of Melanie Jane Brown, 54, Christopher Grant Homan, 35, Melissa Ann Neale, 42, Allan Alexander Sinclair, 46, Murray John Wood, 57 and Gilhwan Yu, 24.

Earlier today superintendent Sam Hoyle said a further 38 bodies had been identified and the victims' families had been told.

The death toll was lifted by two to 165 today, but searchers have concluded that there are no bodies inside the collapsed ChristChurch Cathedral.

Previously it was reported that as many as 22 people may have been trapped in the church. A search of the rubble covered areas surrounding the cathedral would continue today.

Chinese, Japanese and New Zealand search teams expect to finish searching the CTV site tomorrow.

POWER RESTORATION

Orion said it still had still 12,500 customers throughout the city without power and the company is working hard to deal with the 500 or so cable faults affecting the system.

Orion aims to have power back 99 percent of its customers by Monday night, but is urging people to be conservative with power use.

TEEN VICTIM FAREWELLED

The cheeky face of Bart Simpson adorned a funeral service sheet in Christchurch today, reminding mourners of the young life snatched away a day before his birthday.

Jayden Andrews-Howland was last seen alive on his way into central Christchurch the day before his 15th birthday - believed to be heading into town to pick out a birthday present for himself.

He had his bike stolen a few weeks ago and he used the No 3 bus into the Christchurch CBD shortly before the magnitude 6.3 quake. He had been let out of school early due to a teacher-only afternoon.

Today, grieving friends and family - many dressed in Canterbury colours - farewelled the boy they described as having a big heart and an infectious smile.

Jayden was carried into the Harewood Crematorium in a black casket decorated with the silver fern.

Those gathered were told of his love for television programme the Simpsons and the service sheet for his funeral featured a big picture of Bart Simpson.

His former teacher at Linwood College told mourners that Jayden was a diligent student who was a "quiet, gracious and humble" role model for the other boys in his class.

Mourners were told Jayden loved to travel and dreamed of becoming a coach driver when he left school.

His aunt told mourners that she would never understand why her nephew was taken so soon but said Jayden had changed the lives of everyone he had touched and would never be forgotten.

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Jayden was an only child.

HERITAGE WARNING 

Meanwhile, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has warned that an estimated 1000 Christchurch heritage buildings are a danger to people's lives and should mostly be demolished.

Brownlee, at a media briefing held at the Art Gallery this afternoon, said only significant Christchurch heritage building such as the ChristChurch Cathedral, the Catholic Basilica, the Provincial Chambers and the Art Centre should be retained.

"While they are part of our past history, they have no place in our future history. As I've said repeatedly, heritage is both forward and back and from this point on, we decide what the heritage of this city will be.

"There will be a few others [kept], perhaps, but those would be the most iconic buildings that Christchurch residents would want to see rebuilt.

"They won't be put back the way they were. They will need to have a great deal of strengthening put into them and it will be quite a long consideration as to how those things might be done."

People have been barred from access to half of the city's heritage buildings after assessments by Civil Defence staff. Civil Defence national controller John Hamilton said earlier that 50 percent of the top level heritage building had been issued with red stickers.

TEARS OF JOY 

The Dean of ChristChurch Cathedral cried when he was told early today there were no bodies buried in the rubble of the church.

The Very Reverend Peter Beck got a telephone call about 1am from the head of the Urban Search and Rescue task force, Ralph Moore, who told him the shattered cathedral had been checked and rechecked and there were no bodies in the rubble.

"I was expecting to get a call from him saying they had found a body and I and my colleagues were going to go down and say prayers at the side of the body.

"But of course I got this other news and I just burst into tears. I was speechless, It was unbelievable."

Since the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 22, it had been reported that as many as 22 bodies could be were buried in the rubble of the 130-year-old cathedral. Beck said he had no idea where that figure came from.

"I have always said it seems too high and I have always had this sense within me that it was a lot fewer than that.

"Straight after the quake a young woman was in tears and I gave her a big hug. She was telling me that she had just rushed out of the tower just before the quake and there were people behind her.

"Then you get other anecdotal stories from people saying they saw people in the viewing platform so that is the kind of stuff that was going around. But where 22 came from I have no idea."

Beck said it was great news but he was also very conscious that a lot of people had lost loved ones.

ChristChurch Cathedral master of the bell ringers Mike Clayton said he was absolutely "tickled pink" by news there were no bodies in the cathedral rubble. "Everybody is absolutely relieved obviously."

TOLL RISES

Despite the good news out of the cathedral, the official quake toll rose overnight to 165 with the recovery of two further bodies from the destroyed CTV building.

It had been expected that the total toll would rise to over 200, but police say this number is "highly likely" to come down after the cathedral search.

Superintendent Sandra Manderson said this morning that the number of people thought to be missing would be revised.

"We have cleared the cathedral site and we found no bodies in the cathedral at all, so to us that's fantastic news," she told Radio New Zealand.

Police are now trying to establish where the estimate of 22 people trapped at the cathedral came from.

"I haven't been able to do that so far, but I'm hoping that the estimated death toll will come down," Manderson said.

"Initially we had hundreds of people on the list, so it will be really good if that does go down, and it's highly possible."

RECOVERY CENTRES

Six recovery assistance centres will open in the hardest hit areas of quake-stricken Christchurch this morning, offering a range of services and information for people who need help.

Eventually there will be two more of the centres, which Social Development Minister Paula Bennett describes as "one stop" shops.

"These centres will provide a range of services to people in localised areas in Christchurch, particularly the Eastern Suburbs," she said.

Recovery assistance centres will provide face to face service and information from agencies like Work and Income, Housing New Zealand, Christchurch City Council, Red Cross and Salvation Army.

More non-government organisations will join these agencies over the coming days to ensure a wide range of services are available.

"People visiting a Recovery Assistance Centre will find they're essentially a one stop shop where people can sort out emergency payments, housing issues, get counselling or just have a cup of tea and a chat," Bennett said.

Most recovery assistance centres will be in the hardest hit suburbs in east Christchurch such as Aranui, Linwood, Dallington and New Brighton.

CORDON REDUCTION

The cordon blocking off central Christchurch after last week's destructive earthquake will be reduced tomorrow.

Civil Defence head John Hamilton said four green zones had been established at the edge of the cordon area and two of those would be open to the public at 2pm on Sunday.

Residents and business owners would be able to access the cordons from 8am to secure their properties, he said.

In the central city, search and rescue teams have made solid progress clearing the main buildings.

Deconstruction of the CTV buildings, where up to 100 people are believed to have been killed, should be completed in two or three days' time.

Richard Brewer, a spokesman for the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, said the opening up of parts of the CBD represented a significant step forward.

''It will come as an absolutely huge relief for a lot of businesses, particularly if they can now get access to servers and other vital equipment for business,'' Brewer said.

Businesses in the so-called red-zone were still unable to access their properties because the area was judged too hazardous but the chamber was working hard with Civil Defence and other applicable agencies to make the area safe so businesses could get in there soon as possible.

DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

Mayor Bob Parker said he would like to hold a day of remembrance, and to open a safe walkway through the CBD for people to see the destruction.

"Perhaps it can start with a remembrance service in Hagley Park and a silent procession into the city as part of the grieving process.

"We need to have that opportunity to remember, to grieve not only for the people that we have lost, but also for those buildings that are part of the story of our lives."

- Stuff, with NZPA

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