Wedding brightens quake-hit Christchurch as thousands flee (Roundup)
Feb 25, 2011, 9:01 GMT
Wellington - More than 10,000 people have fled Christchurch after the New Zealand city was hit by a devastating earthquake earlier this week, but one woman has emerged after being trapped under rubble to marry and bring some joy to an otherwise grim Friday.
Accountant Emma Howard survived Tuesday's 6.3-magnitude earthquake by hiding under her desk as the Pyne Gould building collapsed around her killing many people.
She was rescued after being trapped for three hours, having suffered only some bruising, and on Friday put aside her ordeal and married boyfriend Chris Greenslade, TV3 reported.
Elsewhere in the city there was little good news. Many people have left the area with airport authorities saying around 10,000 people had flown out in the past days, with thousands more escaping by car.
The official death toll remained at 113 but more bodies were recovered during the day.
More than 200 people were missing, but police say many of those would be amongst the bodies awaiting identification.
Only six of the dead have been named, all New Zealanders, but Foreign Minister Murray McCully warned that people around the globe would be receiving bad news as rescuers continue to work through the city.
Many of the foreign victims are language students in one building where it is feared up to 120 people may have died.
Authorities say they are still hoping to find survivors amongst the ruins, but no one has been rescued since Wednesday afternoon.
Wet and cold weather also arrived in New Zealand's second largest city bringing fears that weakened buildings might fall as aftershocks rattle structures and people's nerves.
Two significant aftershocks shook Christchurch on Friday evening, one a magnitude 3.3 quake only 1 kilometre deep and the other a widely felt magnitude 4.4 shock.
Electricity has been restored to 75 per cent of the city and water to 50 per cent, but the local council says damage to essential infrastructure is severe and will take a long time to fix.
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the cost of rebuilding his hometown after two major earthquakes in six months would exceed 7 billion US dollars.
The Christchurch Chamber of Commerce said it believed the figure would be more than 20 billion US dollars
The 7.1-magnitude earthquake in September resulted in 181,000 claims to the state-owned disaster insurer the Earthquake Commission and many of these will be revised with another 130,000 new claims expected.
On Wednesday, the New Zealand government declared the country's first national state of emergency.
It also announced Friday that the five-yearly census due to take place in early March had been cancelled.
Tuesday's quake, which struck at 12:51 pm (2351 GMT Monday) when office buildings and streets were full of people, was centred much closer to the surface and nearer to the city than the September quake that caused widespread damage but no fatalities.