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6.03pm: Two children were killed in the terrorist attack, police confirmed today. One of them is believed to be a three-year-old Somali boy.
5.45pm: Police Commissioner Mike Bush today clarified the police’s response times in a press conference, saying that armed police were on the scene within six minutes of receiving a call, while the AOS were on the scene within 10 minutes. The gunman was in custody in 36 minutes.
5.40pm: Police say there will be an increased police presence across the country tomorrow and for the remainder of the week, with more than 200 police officers carrying out a variety of roles.
5.29pm: The nationalities of the victims cannot be confirmed at this stage, the Chief Coroner said.
5.24pm: Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall said in a press conference this afternoon that two other coroners and four support staff have been made available in Christchurch to speed up the identification process.
“Identification hearings will start this afternoon and we are anticipating that the process of returning the deceased will commence tonight,” she said.
5.15pm: Presmises have been made available to allow families to carry out cultural traditions such as the washing and shrouding of the bodies, he said.
5.12pm: More than 70 disaster victim identification officers are working to identify and return the bodies of loved ones to their families, Deputy Commissioner Haumaha said. They are being assisted by members of the New Zealand Defence Force in the process.
5.07pm: “The past 48 hours have been totally traumatic for these families, and many of them have not slept,” Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said in a press conference today. “To add to the trauma, they have been unable to bury their loved ones according to Muslim traditions, and we are working very hard to ease the pain of that.”