Friday, 4 March 2011

Death toll rises in Christchurch earthquake - 6 March 2011

Midst death and destruction in Christchurch, flowers bloom and are a tribute to the dead. Photo: Colin Monteath,

A 4.8 magnitude aftershock has shook Christchurch again last evening.being felt as far away as Timaru.

The aftershock struck at 7.34pm within 5km of Lyttelton at a depth of 11km.

The tragic fight to find survivors in the pancaked Canterbury Television building has come to an end.

Urban Search and Rescue Teams at work on the Christchurch CTV site. The Fire Service today announced it has finished its operation at the destroyed building.

Fire Service spokesman Paul Baxter this morning announced the search and rescue operation at the building had ended.

It is believed about 100 lives have been lost in the building - the worst single place suffering loss of life in the February 22 quake

The body of  Brian Taylor, my good friend for over 47 years has not yet been found. He was in the Canterbury TV building when the quake struck.(see link to earlier article about Brian) 

Dear Prue, my deepest sympathy to you and my tears join yours and the boys at this devastating moment.

Brian is pictured on the right with myself left when we met recently in Christchurch.

Also among the missing is Scott Lucy, the son of Bill Lucy, another friend who I spent time in Antarctica with.

Photo (left)

It will be with a mixture of great sadness and relief when relatives find out definitely as their grieving can slowly move towards some form of closure. My heart and prayers go out to you all who are affected in this tragedy.

Towards the end of this article I post first hand accounts and photos from another close friend for over 40 years, Polar and Alpine photographer Colin Monteath,

Yesterday Superintendent Sam Hoyle told a media briefing today that a further 38 bodies had been identified and the victims' families had been told.

The death toll was lifted by two to 165 yesterday day, but searchers have concluded that there are no bodies inside the collapsed ChristChurch Cathedral.

Previously it was reported that as many as 22 people may have been trapped in the church. A search of the rubble covered areas surrounding the cathedral would continue today.

The Dean of ChristChurch Cathedral cried when he was told early yesterday day there were no bodies buried in the rubble of the church.

The Very Reverend Peter Beck (pictured below) 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 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. Beck said he had no idea where that figure came from.

"I have always said it seems too high and I have always had this sense within me that it was a lot fewer than that.

"Straight after the quake a young woman was in tears and I gave her a big hug. She was telling me that she had just rushed out of the tower just before the quake and there were people behind her.

"Then you get other anecdotal stories from people saying they saw people in the viewing platform so that is the kind of stuff that was going around. But where 22 came from I have no idea."

Beck said it was great news but he was also very conscious that a lot of people had lost loved ones.

"Our hearts go out to them. This is good news in a sense that there are no bodies there but at the same time we are very, very conscious of those who are mourning their loved ones and our hearts and prayers are with them."

Beck said his faith was as strong as ever. The earthquake was not an act of God; it was the planet doing its thing the way the planet does.

 "The act of God and the miracles has been the extraordinary way people have pulled together, reached out to one other. The act of God has been in the tears of people, in the weeping, in the lament. The act of God is in the compassion people are showing to one another. The act of God is in the courage people are showing.

"That is where you see God's love working in among people in that extraordinary human spirit that is enabling us to keep together.


Six more names have been added to the list of victims of the Christchurch earthquake..
Yesterday afternoon police released the names of Melanie Jane Brown, 54, Christopher Grant Homan, 35, Melissa Ann Neale, 42, Allan Alexander Sinclair, 46, Murray John Wood, 57 and Gilhwan Yu, 24.

Yesterday  superintendent Sam Hoyle said a further 38 bodies had been identified and the victims' families had been told.

The death toll was lifted by two to 165 yesterday, but searchers have concluded that there are no bodies inside the collapsed Christchurch Cathedral.


Orion said it still had still 12,500 customers throughout the city without power and the company is working hard to deal with the 500 or so cable faults affecting the system.

Orion aims to have power back 99 percent of its customers by Monday night, but is urging people to be conservative with power use.


The cheeky face of Bart Simpson adorned a funeral service sheet in Christchurch today, reminding mourners of the young life snatched away a day before his birthday.

Jayden Andrews-Howland was last seen alive on his way into central Christchurch the day before his 15th birthday - believed to be heading into town to pick out a birthday present for himself.

He had his bike stolen a few weeks ago and he used the No 3 bus into the Christchurch CBD shortly before the magnitude 6.3 quake. He had been let out of school early due to a teacher-only afternoon.

Today, grieving friends and family - many dressed in Canterbury colours - farewelled the boy they described as having a big heart and an infectious smile.

Jayden was carried into the Harewood Crematorium in a black casket decorated with the silver fern.

Those gathered were told of his love for television programme the Simpsons and the service sheet for his funeral featured a big picture of Bart Simpson.

His former teacher at Linwood College told mourners that Jayden was a diligent student who was a "quiet, gracious and humble" role model for the other boys in his class.

Mourners were told Jayden loved to travel and dreamed of becoming a coach driver when he left school.

His aunt told mourners that she would never understand why her nephew was taken so soon but said Jayden had changed the lives of everyone he had touched and would never be forgotten.

Jayden was an only child.

Clean up work continues, a never-ending job: Photo: Colin Monteath

Manderson said recovery work continued throughout the central city.

"They've been working really long hours, really hard, and with great respect to the people that they're serving," she said.

"There's just huge amounts of rubble all around the town. Much of that has been searched, but there's still work to be done."

Some areas would be searched again.

So many houses in the hill suburbs will have to be pulled down, and rebuilt. Photo: Colin Monteath.


Demolition and recovery work in Christchurch should not be hampered by the weather this week.

The long term forecast is for temperatures hovering around a high of 18 degrees and a low of 9 degrees.

And other than the occasional shower it should be fine with a cool southwesterly moving around to a northeasterly later in the week.

The forecast will be welcome news for the thousands of rescue workers still out on the city's quake-torn streets.

Six recovery assistance centres will open in the hardest hit areas of quake-stricken Christchurch this morning, offering a range of services and information for people who need help.

Eventually there will be two more of the centres, which Social Development Minister Paula Bennett describes as "one stop" shops.

"These centres will provide a range of services to people in localised areas in Christchurch, particularly the Eastern Suburbs," she said.

Recovery assistance centres will provide face to face service and information from agencies like Work and Income, Housing New Zealand, Christchurch City Council, Red Cross and Salvation Army.

More non-government organisations will join these agencies over the coming days to ensure a wide range of services are available.

"People visiting a Recovery Assistance Centre will find they're essentially a one stop shop where people can sort out emergency payments, housing issues, get counselling or just have a cup of tea and a chat," Bennett said.

Most recovery assistance centres will be in the hardest hit suburbs in east Christchurch such as Aranui, Linwood, Dallington and New Brighton.

Rescue teams and construction workers toil away 24/7. Photo: Colin Monteath


Prime Minister John Key had a first-hand look at the quake-ravaged eastern suburbs yesterday, where many who live there still lack basis utilities such as power and running water.

He talked to locals in the suburb of Bexley who expressed their frustration at their plight.

Key acknowledged the "utter devastation" of the eastern suburbs and moved to reassure residents and the wider public that the Government was doing "everything possible".

He said the inquiry into the earthquake and the rescue, recovery and relief operations - which he announced on Thursday - would deal with the way the eastern suburbs had been treated.


The cordon blocking off central Christchurch after last week's destructive earthquake will be reduced tomorrow.

Civil Defence head John Hamilton said four green zones had been established at the edge of the cordon area and two of those would be open to the public at 2pm on Sunday.

Residents and business owners would be able to access the cordons from 8am to secure their properties, he said.
In the central city, search and rescue teams have made solid progress clearing the main buildings.

Deconstruction of the CTV buildings, where up to 100 people are believed to have been killed, should be completed in two or three days' time.

Richard Brewer, a spokesman for the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, said the opening up of parts of the CBD represented a significant step forward.

''It will come as an absolutely huge relief for a lot of businesses, particularly if they can now get access to servers and other vital equipment for business,'' Brewer said.

Businesses in the so-called red-zone were still unable to access their properties because the area was judged too hazardous but the chamber was working hard with Civil Defence and other applicable agencies to make the area safe so businesses could get in there soon as possible.


Mayor Bob Parker said he would like to hold a day of remembrance, and to open a safe walkway through the CBD for people to see the destruction.

"Perhaps it can start with a remembrance service in Hagley Park and a silent procession into the city as part of the grieving process.

"We need to have that opportunity to remember, to grieve not only for the people that we have lost, but also for those buildings that are part of the story of our lives."

One of the many photos Colin Monteath has taken of the earthquake in Christchurch.

Jottings from my good friend Colin Monteath whose house was in the middle of many destroyed homes. Colin in one of the world's foremost polar and mountain photographers.

He writes:

Today....Stone chimney probably coming down later today as its pulling end

wall out of lounge on 2nd story...but that's minor as neighbour's wife still
missing....and all of son-in-law Richard's Canterbury television mates are
almost certainly dead...maybe 100 in that building...nobody knows. It'll be
awesome if 14 story hotel Grand Chancellor falls ( as it must as its on a
terrible lean)'ll take out three blocks of other buildings at least

Must go..lots to do...but hugs to you Colin.

Today Friday I think 25th...everyone stuffed/emotionally drained ...delayed
shock setting in all over city....but many international crews here now as
the really hard work goes on.

Suburbs really hit by liquifaction/mud volcanoes erupting everywhere so
siltation through houses very depressing. 1000s uni students out helping door
to door...much aroha.
Aftershocks still rolling through....sometimes like jet engine...some of
these will be dangerous for crews who are now entering badly damaged/very
fragile buildings downtown.

Friday...spent morning at friend's antique polar/mountain book store...mud
volcano/bad smelling water came up through floor so many many lovely books
destroyed with water soaking..very depressing & tiring just getting book
cases off crazy angles. Whole shop will have to be evacuated due to water
damage. Slept this afternoon...just woken up.

Saturday/Sunday....working locally on neighbours houses cleaning oceans of
glass/food/cooking oil etc, pulling brick down etc...very depressing as
neighbour's wife's body now found he thinks....

There are many more quick notes like this. In the middle of destruction Colin manages to find beauty in Christchurch, a colourful flower garden..

What a tragedy. I wasn't even there when my home town was devastated but my daughter and husband survived. I grieve for Brian Taylor and so many others who died, and for those who lost so much. This was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, 'the Garden City." But like their 'Crusaders Rugby team' the people of Christchurch have an indomitable spirit and will never give up. Time will heal and this city will grow and bloom again.


Dem said...

DO you need any assistance?I am am with the Student Volunteer Army. Let me know

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

You guys are doing a wonderful job. My daughter survived and our house is in Bryndwr and fine. Keep up the good work Dem

Marja said...

I get tears in my eyes everytime I read it. Thinking of all the families and friends of the people who didn't make it.

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Marja. My tears join yours for the families who are grieving. The road to recovery will be long and hard, but out of it will emerge stronger communities.

Dinah said...

Here, I do not actually consider this will have success.

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