Search Still on for New Zealand Quake Survivors

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Time is running out to find survivors from Tuesday's massive earthquake in New Zealand.

Police Superintendent Dave Cliff told reporters the toll reached 144 after more bodies were pulled from wrecked buildings, and that more than 200 people remain missing after the 6.3-magnitude quake.rocked New Zealand's second largest city.

Prime Minister John Key said the disaster may be New Zealand's "single most tragic event" and called for two minutes of silence next Tuesday.

Christians in the region and around the world are responding with prayer and practical help, even as hundreds of rescuers from Australia, Asia, and the United States are using dogs and heat-seeking cameras to find anyone still alive.

A local pastor said Christians are praying and are full of hope because of the miracles they've already witnessed.

"We will hear testimonies of God's power at work in the situation. People who have been miraculously rescued when they shouldn't have been," he said.

"People are going to... say God is with me in the situation," he continued. "Obviously that's not going to be the testimony of everybody, but there will be the good coming through it."

The quake measured 6.3 on the richter scale, a force so powerful it flattened most buildings in the epicenter of Christchurch, a tourist city of 300,000 people.

Shine TV, a CBN partner in New Zealand, reported many Christchurch residents are forced to live on the street.

"They've gone home. They've escaped the carnage, the destruction of their office environment, made it home alive to find that their house has been damaged or destroyed," explained John Butterworth of Shine TV. "As a result, a lot of people are sleeping in the parks by the thousands."

Relief agencies like the Salvation Army are setting up shelters and handing out basic supplies to people who lost nearly everything.

"We're working really closely with the welfare centers through the welfare groups and the civil defense and our mandate is the supply of food," one worker said. "So we're supplying the meals to those who are coming into the centers."

The mayor of Christchurch said, aside from finding victims, his main concern is the broken water system.

The total damage from the quake is estimated at $12 billion.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.