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In PHOTOS: Salvaging Christchurch

Last updated on: February 24, 2011 08:20 IST

In PHOTOS: Salvaging Christchurch

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New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has said that emergency operations in earthquake-hit Christchurch were now more focused on body recovery than rescuing survivors.

"I think the large reason why (emergency services) are describing this as more likely to be a recovery than a rescue is they're not getting positive signs that people are there," Ley was quoted saying by TV3, referring to the prospect of survivors in the rubble.

Almost 48 hours after the worst-ever earthquake hit the country's second-largest city, the death toll had crossed 75.

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Image: Rescue workers are seen at the collapsed CTV building that housed the King's Education School, where missing Japanese people are believed to be trapped
Photographs: Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Salvaging Christchurch

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Prime Minister, earlier on Wednesday, declared a national emergency.

The police have announced a nighttime curfew in parts of Christchurch. The city's superintendent did not say what time the curfew would be lifted.


Image: Rescue workers carry a woman survivor after she was rescued from the ruins of a collapsed building
Photographs: Simon Baker/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Salvaging Christchurch

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Officials have urged the city's 3,50,000 residents to stay home unless absolutely necessary during the initial stage of the emergency.


Image: Emergency workers are lifted into the remains of the Pyne Gould Guinness building
Photographs: Tim Wimborne/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Salvaging Christchurch

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Any hope of finding survivors at the six-storey Canterbury Television building, in which foreign students were thought to have been killed, was abandoned late on Wednesday.

"This particular site, CTV site, had a number of overseas students in it and my heart goes out to those families that are away knowing that some of their children, family have probably been killed in this incident," police operations commander Dave Lawry said.

"The situation is that we don't believe this site is now survivable," he added.

Lawry said the building, which housed the King's Education College English language school on its third floor, was deteriorating and there were fears it could collapse further, endangering rescuers.


Image: Rescue workers use thermal imaging cameras to search for signs of life in the PGG building in Chirstchurch
Photographs: Simon Baker/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Salvaging Christchurch

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New Zealand media reported that 24 people had been pulled from the rubble of the CTV building, but seven people had died inside and at least 22 others were listed as missing.

The search for survivors was widened after New South Wales and Queensland search and rescue officials arrived on the ground in Christchurch.

A no-fly-zone was imposed over the CBD to enable rescuers to hear the cries of the injured.


Image: Injured residents are tended to in the carpark of a 24-hour surgery in Christchurch
Photographs: /Simon Baker/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Salvaging Christchurch

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About 300 Australian police personnel have been deployed to Christchurch, some to help with disaster identification. A further 750 urban search and rescue workers from New Zealand and around the world, including Australia, will be on the ground in the city by Thursday.


Image: A rescue worker looks for signs of life in the rubble of the CTV building in central Christchurch
Photographs: Simon Baker/Reuters
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