Christchurch quake death toll rises to 147

Sunday, February 27, 2011

WELLINGTON - The death toll from the New Zealand earthquake has risen to 147, while 50 people remain “unaccounted for”.

Police say a previous figure of around 200 missing people had included confirmed fatalities.

“The number of deceased is now 147… we expect that all of those that we have confirmed have died will be on the list of missing, so we still have over 50 people who are unaccounted for,” district commander Dave Cliff told reporters on Sunday.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, police no longer expect to find survivors from the Canterbury TV building, one of three search sites in the city’s central business district.

Cliff said six bodies had so far been released to families as the slow and difficult process of identifying the dead continued.

He urged families to be patient after some claimed not to have received any information from police about their missing relatives.

Police have now assigned an officer to each family and their primary concern is to ensure no identity mix-ups occur when bodies are released.

Prime Minister John Key, who spoke to families of the missing and visited the injured in hospital yesterday, said a two-minute silence would be held at 12.51pm (New Zealand time) on Tuesday to honour victims, one week after the disaster.

An economic package to aid the city’s recovery will be announced Monday. (ANI)

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