Christchurch quake death toll may be as high as 240

09:58, March 01, 2011      

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New Zealand police said on Tuesday that the death toll from the Feb. 22 Christchurch earthquake could be as high as 240.

Police said, with the recovery of three bodies overnight, 154 were confirmed dead with another 50 still missing.

Superintendent Dave Cliff told a briefing that the death toll from the quake could be well over 200 - perhaps as high as 240.

Only eight of the deceased have been formally identified so far, though police expect to release the names of another three people on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Superintendent Russell Gibson said there should now be a steady release of bodies to families, because the process for identifying victims has improved, with more people working to formally identify the dead.

A four-person victim identification team has arrived from Queensland of Australia, bringing to 170 the number of people working on confirming and naming victims.

New Zealand's worst earthquake left 256 people dead in Napier on Feb. 3, 1931.

Source: Xinhua

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