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Christchurch Earthquake Death toll reaches 75

12.10pm 23 February 2010

Death toll reaches 75

Police have confirmed that 75 people have been confirmed dead following yesterday's earthquake in Christchurch.

Canterbury District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff says the bodies of 55 people have been identified, and another 20 are awaiting identification.

Superintendent Cliff says 300 people are reported missing. Some of these people could be trapped in buildings but others may just have difficulty contacting family.

He says rescue operations are continuing in a number of buildings in the central city, 10 of which remain a priority.

The focus remains on rescuing those people who are alive.

Superintendent Cliff says more than 40 police cordons remain in place around the city, and he is urging people to take heed of these.

There has been a request for 300 Australian police officers to assist in the rescue operation. These officers will work in tandem with New Zealand staff on the ground.

Around 80% of the city remains without water, but power has been restored to the majority of the central city.

Many people concerned for friends, relatives and close family members that may still be in the area have been going to work sites and damaged buildings in an effort to locate them.

This is causing some concern for staff there as they are not able to provide the information required.

Police would prefer people to come to the Family Liaison Centre at Papanui Police Station on the corner of Main North Road and Mary Street where their concerns can be registered.

Many people have been reported missing to the Police already and those calls are all being responded to by telephone.

If the public have already reported their family and friends missing, those people will be contacted by Police with information as it becomes available. Clearly it will be some time before all pertinent information comes to hand.

If anyone has the ability to contact Police by email then they should use the following address and this will save people travelling unnecessarily.

If people are at home they can be contacted there more easily and we would encourage people to do that as it frees up the roads as many are in poor condition and traffic lights are not all working.

The email address is - northern.cib.canterbury@police.govt.nz

Please enter the subject line as follows -

Example: Missing Persons Report / Jane Smith

For those wanting to report missing people, they should use the following:
For New Zealand 0800 733 276
From overseas 0064 785 02 199


ENDS

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