Christchurch, New Zealand (AFP) Feb 28, 2011
The scale of devastation in quake-hit Christchurch is comparable with the destruction wreaked in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, New Zealand's former premier Helen Clark said Monday, as rescuers prepared for the final death toll to rise above 200.
The stark assessment came with much of the city lying in ruins after last Tuesday's 6.3-magnitude quake caused widespread death and destruction, toppling buildings and tearing up roads.
"The building damage I've seen compared with Haiti," Clark, who now heads the United Nations Development Program, told Radio New Zealand Monday, referring to the massive quake which killed at least 220,000 in the Caribbean island in January last year.
"Let there be no mistake, New Zealand has suffered a tragedy of monumental proportions and it's going to require every ounce of recovery in this country to push through from this," she added.
The death toll in Christchurch reached 147 late Sunday but police fear more than 50 still listed as "unaccounted for" lie dead in the rubble.
Asked if he expected a final toll of 200, district commander Dave Cliff relied: "Yes, and probably a little higher than that ultimately."
Cliff said search-and-rescue teams continued the grim task of scouring the wreckage in the stricken city, where no one has been found alive since a woman was pulled from a collapsed office building on Wednesday afternoon.
Key's cabinet was scheduled to meet Monday to discuss how to rebuild the stricken city as the naval ship HMNZS Canterbury headed to Christchurch from the capital Wellington with emergency supplies including water, fuel and fire tankers and temporary bridges.
Sanitation remains a major problem after the tremor destroyed sewerage infrastructure, with mayor Bob Parker saying city authorities had been forced to pump raw sewage into the sea near Christchurch's beaches.
"It's not something we enjoy doing but (it's) absolutely essential to get some capacity in the waste water system," he told TVNZ.
Office blocks folded like packs of cards in the violent tremor, which left a third of the downtown area facing demolition.
Police said they still held out hope of a miracle survival in the disaster zone but, with many ruins teetering on the brink of collapse, even the task of recovering bodies had become a frustrating and perilous exercise.
"I know that they (rescuers) can see bodies that they're trying to get out, it's tragic," police superintendent Russell Gibson told Radio New Zealand.
Many of the dead are believed to be in the Canterbury Television (CTV) building, which was engulfed by flames after tumbling down in the seismic jolt.
It housed an English language school attended by scores of mainly Asian students, prompting New Zealand to assure Japan and China it would investigate why stringent building standards failed to prevent the catastrophic collapse.
Students from the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea are also among those feared dead at the CTV site.
Around the city, which has suffered two major earthquakes in six months, shell-shocked residents gathered on Sunday at services to remember the dead.
Many were held outdoors because the quake destroyed a large number of churches, including the city's landmark cathedral, where up to 22 people are believed to be entombed.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest
N.Zealand remembers quake dead as toll hits 146
Christchurch, New Zealand (AFP) Feb 26, 2011
Grieving New Zealanders held church services for victims of the deadly Christchurch earthquake Sunday as the danger of falling debris frustrated efforts to recover bodies. Only one body was pulled from the rubble overnight, bringing the death toll to 146, but police warned "we continue to believe that there are more than 200 people missing in the worst damaged parts of the city". With t ... read more
Google backs weather insurance startup|
Year after Chile quake, president pledges vigilance
Can-do army lifts Christchurch from quake
Language school became NZealand quake disaster zone
Dell plans China expansion: state media
Xoom sales 'off to good start': Motorola CEO
Videogame makers seek footing on shifting landscape
Japan's NEC in LCD tie-up with China's Tianma
Survey Finds More Sea Islands Disappear In China
Marine 'Networks' Can Protect Fish Stocks
Scientists warn of water woes
Research helps Hawaii produce exports
Old Salt Suggests Marine Life Is Capturing More Carbon
Carbon Sink At South Pole Has Grown Recently
Massive iceberg shears off glacier after quake hit
Climate change halves Peru glacier: official
Seed collection in Norway vault grows
Applications for modified animals debated
High food prices threaten seething Mideast
Transitioning To Organic Farming
Christchurch killer buildings had been deemed safe
Rare earthquake hits Arkansas
'I wanted to die', says quake penknife amputee
NZ promises Japan, China probe into school tragedy
Ivory Coast envoy reports for duty
New 'environment governance' on agenda in Nairobi
Nigerian troops uncover weapons cache
Three soldiers killed by Casamance rebels: military source
Study: Brain is a 'self-building toolkit'
Remains of Ice Age child found in Alaska
Men's cosmetics take off in China
Study: Low self-esteem increases bias
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|