Christchurch still fights for recovery after the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck it earlier this week. To date, there are 98 confirmed deaths and 238 people reported missing. Rescue teams are still searching for survivors, although there is little hope that people trapped under debris are still alive. According to news from New Zealand, 76 bodies had been recovered so far, and taken to a temporary morgue – however the number is expected to escalate in the following hours.
Meanwhile, Tourism New Zealand still advises travelers with a trip planned to the Christchurch area to avoid any non-essential travel before March 1, 2011. Travelers with a trip planned to the Christchurch beyond 2 March should check with their airline or travel agent and keep watch of key websites. For the most up-to-date source of information, people should go to www.civildefence.govt.nz or http://canterburyearthquake.org.nz/. International travelers in Christchurch who need non-medical assistance should call 0800 779 997 and people who intend to travel to New Zealand, particularly to the affected area, should first check with their embassies – information on Diplomatic and Consular services can be found at http://www.mfat.govt.nz/.
Christchurch International Airport is open for domestic flights and international flights. Passengers are advised to confirm check in times and revised flight details with their airlines. Delays are expected. The latest information is at www.christchurchairport.co.nz.
Lyttelton Port operations are still suspended.
TransAlpine and TranzCoastal services are canceled and are expected to resume on 1 March. Disrupted passengers or those with queries are to call KiwiRail for alternative travel arrangements on 0800 872 467 (if calling from New Zealand) or +64 4 495 0775 (if calling from overseas).
Many roads within the Christchurch area are closed due to liquefaction and distortion of roads. All highways are open apart from the Lyttelton Tunnel and State Highway 74, which is closed at Anzac Bridge to Bridge Street. There are also some road closures in the Selwyn District.