1 Mar 2011

Death toll in Christchurch earthquake now 154

6:32 am on 1 March 2011

The official death toll from the Christchurch earthquake has risen to 154, with about 50 people unaccounted for.

The police say they expect the number of deaths to rise further.

Many Pacific people have left Christchurch to escape the after-shocks and the trauma of last week's earthquake and some are questioning whether they'll return.

Meanwhile, Language and cultural differences may be compounding the problems experienced by recent Pacific migrants in earthquake struck Christchurch.

George Clark, a settling in coordinator with the city's Migrant Centre Trust, says it can be more difficult for them to access the support they need.

"For instance where communities have a cultural preference of not having women and men together in the same premises overnight and so they tend to establish their own say in garages or something like that so it's important to make sure they're secure and safe in those areas."

George Clark says over the weekend they came across a 100-strong Tongan community in that situation.

He says they were able to get food to them and they'll continue to work with them.