New Zealand quake death toll rises, more aftershocks expected

24 February 2011 09:44  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch city on Tuesday has killed at least 98 people, with more powerful aftershocks expected in the next few days, New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management (MCDEM) said on Thursday.

“There are 98 confirmed fatalities. This figure is expected to rise,” MCDEM said in a statement.

Power, telecommunications and essential services have been disrupted in Christchurch and rescuers are continuing their search for more than 200 people feared still trapped under collapsed buildings, media reports said.

MCDEM said there was “considerable damage” to the central business district of Christchurch and to Lyttleton, and that the extent of the damage was still being assessed.

As of 19:54 hours New Zealand time (06:54 GMT) on Thursday, there were at least 37 aftershocks greater than magnitude 4 and four aftershocks above magnitude 5 felt in Christchurch, with shocks of magnitude 5 or greater expected in the next few days, MCDEM said in a statement.

“Aftershocks are expected to continue and this could lead to further building damage or collapse, as well as continued disruption to power, telecommunications and essential services,” it added.

The deadly earthquake hit Christchurch at 12:51 hours local time (23:51 GMT) on Tuesday at a depth of 5km (3 miles).

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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