Christchurch quake death toll rises to 123

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Wellington (New Zealand), Feb.26 (ANI): With the death toll in earthquake-hit Christchurch rising to 123, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has asked all New Zealanders observe a two minute silence for the victims.

"This may be New Zealand's single most tragic event. I am calling on New Zealanders to stop and remember those who have lost their lives, those who are missing and the hundreds of people who are mourning family and friends," the Dominion Post quoted Key, as saying in a statement.

Key spent the day speaking with families who have relatives missing in the city.

They were "full of fear," Key said.

People who had family members at the CTV building were particularly concerned.

"We do not think it's possible you could have survived what's taken place at that building. It's just utter devastation. Buildings have been levelled, its just utter carnage. Just building after building after building. What is very obvious is that there will have to be a lot of buildings removed from the central city."

His heart went out to the families of foreign students missing in the CTV building.

"They entrusted their people to us and as the result of a natural disaster they might have lost their lives."

However, six streets in Lyttelton have been evacuated because of potential rockslides, but Civil Defence believes residents may be allowed back within 24-hours.

Power has now been restored to 80 per cent of earthquake-hit Christchurch, but 37,000 customers are still without it - and many will remain so for some weeks.

He said good progress was made today on the 66kV overhead line to supply Brighton substation from the Transpower Bromley substation, with 30 percent of the poles erected.

The completion of the 2.5km line is the first step in restoring power to Dallington and Brighton. (ANI)

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