Body count rises in quake city

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A resident carries water bottles as he walks past a damaged stone chapel on the outskirts of Christchurch (AP)

Police said the death toll in the earthquake that devastated a New Zealand city has risen to 76, with 238 people still missing.

Police Superintendent Dave Cliff told a news conference that 76 bodies had been brought to a temporary morgue in Christchurch, and that he expects the number to rise as search teams pore through the thousands of buildings damaged in Tuesday’s 6.3-magnitude quake.

Supt Cliff said 238 people are still missing.

Officials have cautioned, however, that not all of the people listed as missing should be assumed dead.

Hundreds of foreign crews who are specialists in picking through dangerously unstable wreckage were arriving in Christchurch, adding to local police and soldiers and allowing teams to head for smaller buildings not yet checked.

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