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Emotional family visit to CBD

Emotional family visit to CBD

2 March, 2011 - 17:19

Around 400 family members of the people missing in the Christchurch earthquake were taken into the city's CBD by Police today.

A convoy of 10 buses transported the families through the inner city, giving them an opportunity to see firsthand the damage caused by last Tuesday's magnitude 6.3 quake. About 250 foreign nationals and 150 New Zealanders were on board the buses.

Inspector Wendy Robilliard from the Police Family Liaison Team says the trip was emotional, especially as the buses travelled past the CTV and PGC buildings.

"There were large outpourings of grief near those affected buildings," she says.

Police believed it was important to take the families to the CBD so they could see for themselves the magnitude of the devastation.

"I certainly believe it gave them a far better understanding of the conditions USAR staff are dealing with and why the rescue effort is taking time.

"They were very grateful to be taken through and several people came up to me afterwards to say how appreciative they were of the opportunity."

The windy, dusty and dangerous conditions meant the families did not get off the buses or lay flowers.

"It wasn't an option given the conditions and once they saw what it was like, they completely understood," Wendy says.

A Christchurch-based police officer was on board each bus to provide the families with a commentary as they travelled through the CBD.

Also on board were two or three Police Family Liaison Officers and staff from Victim Support.



END

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