Rescuers in Christchurch have been concentrating there efforts on earthquake damaged buildings where signs of life have been detected.
Around 120 survivors have been pulled out across the city on New Zealand’s south island, some after having limbs amputated. Christchurch Hospital has been inundated with patients seeking treatment for injuries.
But the search at a collapsed TV building which also housed a language school has been abandoned. A number of Japanese students are among dozens feared dead in the rubble.
Friends of the missing find it hard to take, but rescuers said they needed to divert teams elsewhere.
“The sad fact is that we’re moving the resources we’ve got from this site to other sites where there’s a higher probability of life survivability,” said police operations commander Dave Lawry. “We still have survivors, we believe, at several other sites and, at the end of the day, we have to make that choice. It’s a hard choice.”
For others life goes on. Large parts of Christchurch are without water, leading to long queues for those seeking supplies. The authorities said electricity workers are battling hard to restore power.
The impact of New Zealand’s worst natural disaster for 80 years is going to be felt long after the quake’s aftershocks.