Christchurch Earthquake 2011 - March 3 update

Christchurch earthquake destruction - image courtesy whatsdavedoing.com

Activities and information on March 3, 2011  after the damaging 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch, Lyttelton and Brighton.

UPDATE 05:15 UTC : Orion has now restored power to 95% of the city. The number of customers without power has dropped from 16,000 to 8,000 in the last 24 hours in the Eastern suburbs of Christchurch.

The names released by police today include 1 person from Thailand and 6 New Zealanders :- Joan Dorothy Wield, 76, of Christchurch and her husband  Graham Wield, 77; Matthew Stuart McEachen, 25, of Christchurch;  Neil Glyn Stocker, 58, of Timaru; Haruthaya Luangsurapeesakul, 32, of Thailand,  Scott William Emerson Lucy, 38, of Timaru, Dr Maysoon Mahdi Abbas, 61, of Christchurch. Our thoughts go out to their families and friends.

In addition, on Sunday the CBD will be split into 4 sections including a reduced cordon zone.

UPDATE 18:15 UTC : Police have confirmed the death toll is 163. Two more bodies were pulled out overnight from the Pine Gould Building. They have also revised the overall death toll to 220

* The focus of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team working in the Christchurch central business district following the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011 will now be on recovering bodies.
As time has gone on, the chance of finding someone alive has diminished and, sadly, there becomes a point where the response effort shifts in focus from rescue to body recovery.

* The number of confirmed fatalities is now 163 (updated 1038hrs, 3 March).

* In excess of 200 people are reported as missing (unaccounted for) in the worst-damaged sites in the city. This number will include nearly all of the fatalities above.

* A total fire ban remains in place across Canterbury. No fire permits will be issued.

* Christchurch residents are reminded genuine Earthquake Commission (EQC) assessment teams are operating only between the hours of 8am and 6pm, and are operating seven days a week. There have been reports of people claiming to be EQC assessors knocking on doors outside the official operating hours, and in one case in the early hours of the morning.
All EQC teams carry official identification and residents should ask to see this if they are in any doubt. The EQC teams will not ask to go inside houses and will base their assessments on external checks.

* Engineers are looking at areas of land suitable for temporary accommodation for displaced residents. Information on emergency accommodation to match people displaced by the earthquake.

* Volunteers wanting to help in the Christchurch earthquake response are asked to register their interest on:
- Trade Me (www.trademe.co.nz); or - University of Canterbury Student Volunteer Army (www.sva.org.nz or www.facebook.com/StudentVolunteerArmy)

* Are you personal possessions still in the cordoned area, and am I allowed to take them out ?
No - the area is too unstable. These areas are being actively policed to prevent access and protect private property. A process for retrieving personal belongings will be put in place in due course. Public will be advised when this will occur.

* Crews working to clear Christchurch streets of silt had their biggest day today, removing 50,000 tonnes of the grey dust and sludge.
Over 420 contractors are involved in the work which is being led by City Care and Fulton Hogan.
The total tonnage removed since the 22 February earthquake has now reached 218,000 tonnes, most of which has been trucked to Burwood landfill.

* The February 22 earthquake and aftershocks have made many large trees unstable around Christchurch. People are urged to take extreme care around large trees, which may have suffered damage to their root systems, and could fall over as a result of wind or further aftershocks.

QuakeSOS+ is an iPhone application developed by Armand Vervaeck, the creator and main contributor to Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is constantly feeding the users with œEarthquake Report news. Together with your own family and friends, QuakeSOS+ will be your closest earthquake friend. Buying QuakeSOS+ will support the activities of SOS Earthquakes.

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Quake-Maps.com was also created by SOS Earthquakes. Quake-Maps.com makes it easy to let the world know which shaking people have experienced during the earthquake. Quake-Maps.com gives also the opportunity to write some additional text. Filling up the form takes only 1 minute. Quake-Maps.com gives an overview of all the resent earthquakes and let you even go back in time and retrieve earthquakes of a certain date in the past.

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