New Zealand Quake: Many Tourists Among the Hundreds Still Missing

  • Share
  • Read Later
Japanese rescue workers walk past the rubble of the CTV building in Christchurch February 24, 2011. (REUTERS / Tim Wimborne)

New Zealand’s Tuesday earthquake has left a death toll that has now climbed to over 100, with more than 220 people still missing. But the tragedy goes far beyond New Zealand’s shores, as visitors from China, Japan, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Britain among those feared to be dead.

(More on TIME.comSee pictures of the earthquake damage in Christchurch.)

New Zealand’s civil defense minister John Carter expressed a diminishing sense of hope on Friday of finding survivors among the rubble, stating, “We’re still hopeful, but it’s getting less and less likely.”

(More on NewsFeedRead about the initial reports of the earthquake.)

According to China Central Television, 20 Chinese students studying there have not yet been found. Seven of those students are believed to be buried under the Canterbury Television site in Christchurch. Nearly a dozen Japanese exchange students are also still unaccounted for at the site of the collapsed King’s Education school, which is located at the Canterbury Television site. Both the Chinese and Japanese students were studying at the school.

Two people from Britain were also reported dead on Thursday, while a missing Australian woman who had been in contact with others through her cell phone under the rubble was finally rescued. Japan, along with Australia, has sent teams of rescuers to help with the efforts. By the end of Thursday, approximately 550 rescuers and 12 dogs were working to find survivors and to clear through the debris.

(More on NewsFeedRead about a woman pulled from the rubble alive after 27 hours.)

Still, police commander Dave Lawry expressed little hope. “The situation is that we don’t believe this site is now survivable,” he told The Guardian.

Tuesday’s 6.3 earthquake struck in the late morning, inflicting massive devastation on the southern New Zealand city on top of structural damage left by another earthquake in September. The earthquake’s final toll — both in human lives and in infrastructure damages —  have yet to be assessed.

(More on TIME.comSee pictures of the damage from the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake.)