The death toll from the Christchurch earthquake has now reached 98 and New Zealand’s prime minister John Key said he fears that the 200 people still unaccounted for could also be dead.

Tuesday’s 6.3-magnitude earthquake left around 2,500 people injured, 164 seriously.

Rescue teams in Christchurch have continued their hunt for survivors although hopes of finding anyone alive are slim.

Rescue operations have focused on Christchruch’s business district, which was worst hit by Tuesday’s earthquake. Police said up to 120 bodies may still lie trapped in the demolished Canterbury Television (CTV) building.

So far the death toll from Tuesday’s earthquake stands at 98, a police spokesperson confirmed.

However, 226 people are still missing and Key said he was fearful that many of them did not survive.

“We are very fearful tonight that the death toll could be much greater than any of us have ever feared, Key said.

Crews from Britain, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and America arrived in New Zealand today to lend support to the recovery effort. However the day did not yield any more live rescues.

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About 14 people are believed to be inside the Pine Gould building, which was demolished by the earthquake, but rescue teams were unable to find anyone alive.

Similarly, the 22 people trapped inside the cathedral are all thought to be dead.

Worst hit by the earthquake was the CTV building in which 120 people are thought to have died. Police said its collapse was “100 per cent unsurvivable”.

The names of some of those killed in the Christchurch quake are expected to be released later. However it may be weeks until all bodies have been identified.

Four New Zealanders – two of them babies – were the first to be formally identified. A British man who lived in Christchruch has also been named.