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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 29 October 2020
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"Bax you are forever in our hearts" - five month old baby first quake victim to be buried

The search for victims is continuing with the aid of sniffer dogs and sensitive listening devices, but rescue teams are now finding only the dead in the rubble.

THE FIRST FUNERAL – that of a five-month-old baby boy – has taken place in Christchurch for one of the victims of the New Zealand earthquake.

Dozens of family and friends wearing light blue ribbons gathered in a small chapel in Christchurch for the funeral of Baxter Gowland, who died in his sleep when he was hit by falling masonry.

“Bax you are forever in our hearts we will always love you xo,” his father Shaun McKenna wrote on a Facebook tribute page.

To The little man who made everyone smile who met him, may you look down upon us and help us remember your beautiful face xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

The earthquake’s death toll has risen to 148 , but only eight victims of last week’s 6.3 magnitude quake have so far been named – Baxter and one other baby among them.

The search for victims is continuing with the aid of sniffer dogs and sensitive listening devices, but rescue teams are now finding only the dead in the rubble, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

“It is probably highly unlikely that we will encounter live victims within collapsed structures,” the fire service’s rescue operation manager Jim Stuart-Black told reporters.

TVNZ reports the country’s chief coroner Neil MacLean as saying that in many cases, visual identification isn’t possible.

The Irish Daily Star reports that the families of those still missing – including the family of JJ O’Connor, who had been  in the Pyne Gould Guinness building when the earthquake struck – have been asked to provide DNA.

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Meanwhile, the severe high winds that were set to batter the stricken city now look unlikely to hit. However, the Christchurch Mayor said the warm and blustery conditions that are forcecast are a problem for rescue teams and the suffering residents.

That is a concern to us because there is a lot of dust in the city, a lot of silt – about 180,000 tonnes now. This weather will tend to spread it around the city.

The 26-storey Hotel Grand Chancellor remains at high risk of collapse.

About the author:

Jennifer O'Connell

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