The Christchurch earthquake death toll is expected to rise beyond 200 in the next few days.

The deaths of 148 people have been confirmed so far, and at least four Britons are thought to have been killed in the New Zealand quake.

Gregory Tobin, 25, a chef from Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, was killed while on a round-the-world trip. He had been working temporarily at a garage in Christchurch when the earthquake hit.

Chartered account Phil Coppeard, 41, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, who emigrated to the country in November with his wife Suzanne, has been missing since the earthquake hit.

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Two Brits are still recovering in hospital after being seriously hurt in the magnitude-6.3 quake. The male and female are expected to fly home later in the week. Another Brit is still missing.

A British taskforce of disaster victim identification is set to arrive in Christchurch today to help identify the dead. The eight-strong team, which includes a pathologist, odontologist and fingerprint expet will help experts from New Zealand and Australia.

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British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Vicki Treadell, said: “We understand that there are four British nationals dead and are working closely with local authorities on identification. We are in touch with next of kin who are our priority and also working with them so formal identification can take place.”

The commission has so far helped 300 Britons affected by the disaster.

“Many of them are now on their way home but our teams on the ground are still doing the rounds, visiting hospitals and attending family briefings,” added Ms Treadall. “We are working through the list of missing and cross referencing with information we have been given from the UK.”