There's more news of the recovery efforts in New Zealand following the series of earthquakes in Christchurch. Early reports that there may have been as many as 22 people killed in the collapse of the city's Anglican cathedral have sadly been confirmed.
The effort to recover the bodies of the victims is proceeding slowly:
“It's a very delicate task, because the building is quite unsafe, and we can't put these guys into a dangerous situation. I think they are going to be removing another part of the tower and they may have to take down part of the west wall if not altogether,” says Dean Peter Beck.
Bricks and mortar were still falling when 3 News arrived minutes after the quake, while dazed survivors comforted each other, Beck realised his cathedral had become a tomb.
He believes all the victims were tourists. Staff and volunteers have all been accounted for.
“I haven't cried yet but I think I'm on the verge of it it's just the enormity of the whole thing mate,” says Dean Beck.
Denominations and congregations across the country are coming together to provide pastoral care to the survivors:
"An interfaith prayer service set for Feb. 27 in Hagley Park, the largest open urban space in Christchurch, has been postponed for a week and may be re-located, the story said. City officials did not want traffic hampering access to the severely damaged central part of the city.
Matthews said that the service will be different from the one held in Cathedral Square after the Sept. 3 magnitude-7.0 quake. That one, she said, was a service of thanksgiving, in part for the fact that no one was killed by that temblor. This time, she told Anglican Taonga, there will be lament as well as thanksgiving.
The official death toll increased on Feb. 25 (local time) to 103, including a five-month old and a nine-month old. Another 228 are reported missing and hopes are fading of finding any more people alive.
'It's horrible to watch, but we all hover around TV screens to watch and maybe might recognize any friends we have that are ok,' Beth Richards wrote Feb. 24 to her extended family, including Su Hadden, operations manager at the Episcopal Church Center in New York. Richards, who lives in Nelson at the top of the South Island and north of Christchurch, is one of Hadden's four cousins who live in New Zealand."
From the Episcopal News Service here where there is much more.
If you'd like to support the recovery effort, there are some suggestions from the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch here.