NZ earthquake death toll reaches 145

ITN News

by ITN News

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The death toll from Tuesday's 6.3-magnitude quake in New Zealand now stands at 145 with 200 still missing, police have said.

Power has been restored to 80 per cent of Christchurch, but 37,000 customers are still without electricity.

Prime Minister John Key described the disaster as potentially being "New Zealand's single most tragic event" and has asked for a two minutes' silence on Tuesday, exactly one week after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake, as a sign of unity for its victims.

Hopes of finding survivors seemed to be fading as authorities admitted they expected the death toll "to steadily rise" further, as families were warned to prepare for the "worst type of news".

A 63-strong team of British emergency fire and rescue service workers have landed in the country and set up camp in Christchurch, at the request of the country's foreign and defence ministers.