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Asia

Dust cloud hinders Christchurch quake rescue

media Rescue workers wearing respirators in Christchurch Reuters/Mark Baker/Pool

A huge dust cloud hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Wednesday, just over a week after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake killed at least 160 people there.

Winds of 70 kilometres an hour hindered the search for bodies and prompted fears of falling masonry and trees.

The earthquake caused liquefaction - an estimated 200,000 tonnes of silt and sand were pushed up out of the ground.

Rescue workers do not expect to find any more survivors. The final death toll is expected to be more than 240.

Up to a third of the downtown area of the city faces demolition. The earthquake will cost insurers up to 8.6 billion euros, according to estimates by reinsurer Swiss Re.

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