Christchurch earthquake: Latest updates

The Student Army on the march in Avondale. Photo / Geoff Sloan
The Student Army on the march in Avondale. Photo / Geoff Sloan
8.02pm
That concludes our latest updates for this evening. We'll be back tomorrow with more coverage from Canterbury.
5.24pm
Police have named six more victims from last week's earthquake.
3.30pm
Lines company Orion is urging people living in Christchurch's eastern suburbs to use as little electricity as possible.
Chief executive Roger Sutton said the electricity network in suburbs east of Ferrymead bridge was extremely fragile.
"We got the Brighton substation - which supplies much of the electricity to the eastern suburbs - live again on Thursday night. However we've found that the underground cables that take electricity from that substation are more badly damaged than we first feared," Mr Sutton said.
140 cables across the network had faults on them. Some of these cables have suffered multiple failures. In some cases entire sections of cable are being replaced.
Earlier, Orion announced that 95 per cent of Christchurch homes had their power restored and the remaining 14,000 would get it back by tomorrow night.
But today Mr Sutton said that target of tomorrow night would not be met.


"We aren't going to be able to get all customers on by Monday night but our goal at the moment is 99 percent of customers outside the CBD (central business district) on by Monday night."
There could be as many as 600 faults, which was more than 10 times the number of cable faults the company would usually have in a year, he said.
He was also concerned that a cold snap over the next few days could see people use more electricity.
"If electricity use goes up in the eastern suburbs it will put more stress on an already fragile network and we will be at risk of the power going back off again for some people.
"Please use the absolute minimum amount of power - particularly during the peak time of between 5pm and 6.30pm. Hot water cylinders are a large user of power - use your hot water sparingly, and if at all possible, turn your cylinder off at the wall."
However, Mr Sutton said people should continue to use appliances if there was a medical or health reason.
Appliances to avoid or using were clothes dryers, electric heaters, air conditioning units, the hot wash in the washing machine and heated towel rails.
Many homes in Brighton, Dallington and other eastern suburbs have been without power since the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 22.

2.52pm
Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland, who was in Christchurch today, said having enough trades people assisting both the rebuilding of flood and cyclone-hit Queensland and quake-damaged Christchurch would be a challenge.
"These are the sort of things that we would talk about at a Government to Government level. We recognise each others needs and getting that balance right are things that we will discuss as part of the normal course."
Mr McClelland, who is responsible for emergency management in Australia, was in New Zealand checking-up on the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams helping since the magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck last week.
He met with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and thanked New Zealand for their hospitality.
"New Zealand is always a first when we have a crisis and it's fair and proper that we respond. As our Prime Minister (Julia Gillard) said we are family and we are very pleased to do it."
Read more here.
1.51pm:
Search and rescue teams are going to re-check damaged buildings in Christchurch.

USAR teams say they are working outside the CBD cordon on buildings which need re-checking, before they're demolished or cleared.

Spokesman Paul Baxter says a substantial number are being checked as a precaution, so no stone is left unturned.

He said that there are thousands of buildings in the city that require searching to some degree or another.

The reconciliation of that will be managed by police and the Disaster Victim Identification Team.

1.40pm:
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has unveiled a $C500,000 ($NZ697,985) contribution to help relief and recovery efforts in Christchurch.

"Canadians were deeply saddened and shocked by the terrible toll this disaster has taken on the people of New Zealand," Harper said in a statement.

"Canada is happy to provide assistance to help the people of Christchurch and the rest of the Canterbury region recover from this tragedy."

1.33pm:
GNS Science reports that another aftershock struck Christchurch at 1.19pm measuring 3.4, 20km west of Lyttelton at a depth of 2km.
1.27pm:
The first Queensland Urban Search and Rescue staff are heading home today. The team of 70 flew in last Wednesday and worked on the CTV building but no-one was recovered alive.The team members say it has been tough but they are trained to deal with the emotional aspects of the job.
1.15pm:
The Minister in Charge of Earthquake Recovery, Gerry Brownless, is taking a tough stand on Christchurch's heritage building saying if he had his way, most of them would be bowled tomorrow. He is willing to consider putting resources into re-building the Christchurch Cathedral, the Catholic Basilica, the Provincial Chambers and the Arts Centre - "but that's it."
1.13pm:
Planning is underway to allow greater public access to cordoned areas inside the Christchurch CBD, to ensure business and property owners have access to buildings prior to the public gaining unrestricted entry.

The CBD will be divided into five zones (see map). Zones 1-4 all surround the central red no go zone. Zones will be numbered in priority order.

Each zone will be opened in a phased approach allowing residents and business owners six hours to inspect and secure their properties, ahead of the cordon being lifted.

From the opening of a zone, City Care-coordinated building teams and lock smiths will be available to assist. Civil Defence plan to open zones 1 and 2 concurrently tomorrow.


1.07pm:
The list of road closures in Christchurch has been updated.
12.45pm:
Christchurch homes still without power after last week's earthquake will have to wait at least another two days before their service is restored.

Lines company had announced that 95 percent of Christchurch homes had their power restored and the remaining 14,000 would get it back by tomorrow night.

But Orion chief executive Roger Sutton said today that target of tomorrow night would not be met.

"We aren't going to be able to get all customers on by Monday night but our goal at the moment is 99 percent of customers outside the CBD (central business district) on by Monday night.

"We have just still got so many cable faults in that area out in the east.

"We have probably got the equivalent of 10 times the number of faults we get in a year to fix all our cables out there," he said.

Many homes in Brighton, Dallington and other eastern suburbs have been without power since the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 22.


12.22pm:
Auckland's population is expected to swell by up to 21,000 as exhausted Christchurch residents flee damaged homes and aftershocks.
12.20pm:
The Defence Force says it has the manpower to support earthquake recovery efforts for as long as it takes. Territorials have been part of the 18-hundred strong Defence Force team for the past week.
11.54am:
nzherald.co.nz's social media editor Troy Rawhiti-Forbes is on the ground in Christchurch getting the stories and messages of the people most affected by the earthquake.
11.49am:
New Zealand Football Chairman Frank van Hattum says they're working on a charity match with the game's biggest names to raise money for the earthquake appeal.

He says FIFA's helping with that and they've got experience in it following the Samoan tsunami.

Frank van Hattum says they're trying to have it in New Zealand but it may not be logistically possible.

11.31am:
The series of aftershocks this morning continue with another occurring at 11.17am, GNS Science reports. It measured 3.2 and was at a depth of five km. It is fourth aftershock of the morning.
11.29am:
The cordon around the CBD will be relaxed slightly tomorrow morning. Business and property owners in the southern block from Rolleston Avenue, will be allowed in first. Only then, will the cordon be relaxed for the general public.
11.07am:
The Grand Chancellor Hotel has been stabilised to allow searching to continue and engineers are still considering the long-time situation of the building.
11am:
GNS Science reports that another aftershock hit Christchurch at 10.49am measuring 4.1, 10km west of Lyttelton at a depth of 5km.
10.53am:
265,000 tonnes of silt have been collected from around Christchurch. Road side silt will be collected from Monday.
10.47am:
Water reservoirs have passed structural checks and are being filled, a media briefing has been told. 5000 more chemical toilets arrive from China on Tuesday and another 20,000 are on order.
10.42am:
Police are concerned about the number of drink driving offences that have occurred over the last few nights. 13 people were charged with drink driving last night after 11 people were charged on Thursday night.
10.39am:
Police have now identified 38 people who died in the Christchurch earthquake. Police told a media briefing that family of the 38 people have all been notified. The names will be released later today.
10.27am:
Butler Auto Mart, Gasoline Alley, Stanmore Rd are currently giving away free gas bottle fill ups while supplies last.
10.17am:
The aftershocks continue in Christchurch. The last occurred at 10.04am and measured 3.3. It was at a depth of 6km, 10km west of Lyttelton, GNS Science reports.
10.12am:
The Dean of Christchurch Cathedral cried when he was told early today there were no bodies buried in the rubble of the church.

The Very Reverend Peter Beck told NZPA he got a telephone call about 1am from the head of the Urban Search and Rescue task force, Ralph Moore, who told him the shattered cathedral had been checked and rechecked and there were no bodies in the rubble.

"I was expecting to get a call from him (Mr Moore) saying they had found a body and I and my colleagues were going to go down and say prayers at the side of the body.

"But of course I got this other news and I just burst into tears. I was speechless, It was unbelievable."

Since the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 22, it had been reported that as many as 22 bodies could be were buried in the rubble of the 130-year-old cathedral.

9.45am:
The central city cordon will be reduced tomorrow. Click here for details.
9.25am:
The death toll from last week's devastating Christchurch earthquake now stands at 165, police said this morning.
9.15am:
Students from some of Christchurch's worst-hit schools are going to have to attend classes elsewhere, possibly until the end of the year.
9.07am:
Looters in Christchurch may have got the message.

Police in Christchurch arrested 19 people overnight - but it was just business as usual.

There was no out of the ordinary crime.

Police say although they arrested 19 people, none of those were for looting, or attempts to breach the CBD cordon.

Three people were picked up for burglary, three for disorder and there were a few cases of people breaching their bail conditions.

9.03am:
Police were now looking at revising the estimated toll of over 200 people, which was "highly likely" to come down after the cathedral was searched and no bodies were found.
9am:
Red Cross volunteers are going door-to-door to check on people's well being. One of them, Hayley Presling told Newstalk ZB that people in the worst-hit suburbs appreciate the help, but they're also overwhelmed.
8.53am:
Residents of quake-devastated parts of Christchurch are being urged to be tolerant and think of others as they face weeks of using portaloos and chemical toilets.
8.40am:
Lincoln University will reopen on 14 March.
50 regional schools in the Waimak and Selwyn districts reopened this week
8.12am:
Urban search and rescue teams have found no bodies inside Christchurch Cathedral.

They've completed their search of the building, and the collapsed spire.

There were initially thought to be 22 people inside the cathedral's tower when the quake struck.

7.56am:
Students from some of Christchurch's worst-hit schools are set to attend classes elsewhere, possibly until the end of the year.

Four high schools have already agreed in principle to share two campuses, in split morning-afternoon shifts.

Burnside High will share its site with Avonside Girls, while St Bede';s College has come to the rescue of sister school, Marian College.

Marian College principal Anna Heffernan says it's unlikely her 450 girls will be able to return to their own school before the end of the year.

She says Christchurch principals are talking with the Qualifications Authority to address concerns about NCEA credits.

7.35am:
GNS Science reports that another aftershock hit Christchurch at 6.14am measuring 3.4, 10km west of Lyttelton at a depth of 5km.


7.24am:
Some Christchurch residents could be using port-a-loos or chemical toilets for weeks.

More than 11 hundred port-a-loos have been delivered to the city so far, with another 60 arriving today.

Almost a thousand portable toilets will leave the US this weekend.

Another four thousand chemical toilets are in Christchurch, with a further five thousand reaching the city on Tuesday.

Twenty thousand chemical more are on order from China.

The council acknowledges sharing a toilet with strangers isn't easy, and it's issued some tips for handling the situation.

It's asking people to be tolerant, leave the loo how you find it, be patient, and be scrupulous about hygiene.


7.08am:
Water is back on to seventy eight per cent of Christchurch properties.

The council says it's got 120 crews working on restoring the supply.

Water reservoirs are slowly filling up again, after passing checks for structural soundness.

Anyone with leaking water pipes on their own property should call a plumber.


7.02am:
Crews are working to get power back to the rest of Christchurch by the end of the weekend.

Lines company Orion says around 95 per cent of homes are now connected.

Most of the remaining 14 thousand are expected to have power back by tomorrow night.

Customers in the eastern suburbs are being asked to conserve electricity, so supplies can be shared around the fragile network.

- NEWSTALK ZB/NZPA

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