Rescue workers in New Zealand found
no survivors during another day of searching in the quake-hit city of
Christchurch, as the slow process of identifying the dead began.
More than 220 people remain missing
in the wake of Tuesday’s earthquake. Rescuers believe multiple bodies lie
beneath three collapsed structures.
The death toll stands at 113
people, of whom six have been formally identified.
On Friday, teams began removing the
felled spire of Christchurch Cathedral.
Officials believe up to 22 bodies
may lie beneath the rubble there.
“We’re having to move
extremely slowly, we’re working brick by brick. There are a lot of loved ones
in here that we want to get out,” rescue worker Steve Culhane said.
As many as 120 people are thought
to have been killed inside the collapsed CTV office block, including Japanese,
Chinese and Philippine nationals.
Another concentration of the
missing is thought to be inside the destroyed Pyne Gould building.
Seventy people were found in the
rubble in the 24 hours after the earthquake, but no survivors have been found
since late on Wednesday despite the presence of teams from around the world on
“The rescue focus is drawing
towards a conclusion,” Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.
“We’re getting to the end of that period
in which you can still have hope.”
Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said
residents should steel themselves for the death toll to rise “substantially”
in the next 24-48 hours.
Families of the missing have
appealed for the identification process to be accelerated, but officials are
using DNA identification and have asked for patience.