New Zealand Red Cross teams are responding after a series of huge earthquakes hit overnight. People can donate to the November 2016 Earthquake Appeal - donations will help us to respond and to support affected communities.

Red Cross’ Disaster Welfare and Support Team members are on the ground in Marlborough, providing support to the worst-affected communities and operating a Civil Defence centre in Blenheim. Red Cross is also supporting Civil Defence in Kaikoura. 

Team members have travelled from as far away as Waikato to help. Red Cross has provided portaloos, water supplies and radio communications in Ward, where several homes are damaged, and teams have been going door-to-door to check on residents.

Water has been identified as an urgent need, and Red Cross will offer water bladders and tap stands for distribution if needed.

Red Cross is also talking with the Christchurch City Council to find out what support is needed in the city. A Red Cross Disaster Welfare and Support Truck, capable of providing shelter and food for up to 150 people, is en route to the city from Dunedin.

Red Cross Secretary General Tony Paine is urging Kiwis to stay up to date with latest information from Civil Defence and to look out for each other.

“Remember to check on and support your neighbours and your loved ones. It has been a very rough night for many Kiwis – especially in Canterbury, where this will have been a very frightening reminder of the last five years."

For those concerned about loved ones in affected areas, communications infrastructure is currently limited and we understand telecommunication providers are working to fix this. 

In the meantime, we encourage you to continue to try to make contact with your family members via social media, through friends and family networks and text messages. Once communications infrastructure is restored the text messages will be sent. 

If you have family overseas who might be worried about your wellbeing, it is good to let them know you are safe and well!

Updates on Red Cross’ response will be posted on social media: facebook.com/NewZealandRedCross and twitter.com/NZRedCross.

Red Cross spokesperson Gemma Snowdon will be on the ground in Blenheim from 6pm and will be available for interviews.

More on getting in touch with your loved ones

For people visiting New Zealand

If you are visiting New Zealand, please continue to follow instructions of Civil Defence authorities in your region and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) website at http://www.civildefence.govt.nz/ 

Please contact your relatives back home to let them know you are safe and well.

People in New Zealand concerned with the welfare of loved ones in affected areas

If you live in New Zealand and have not heard from loved ones in affected areas we encourage you to continue to try to contact them via text messages and social media and family and friend networks. We understand there is limited power and cell coverage in Kaikoura but a telecommunications provider is working on fixing this and it is anticipated it could be restored today.

For people overseas concerned for loved ones in New Zealand

If you have concerns about family visiting or living in New Zealand, please try and contact them directly using their mobile phones (text messages work better in terms of coverage), email, social media, family and friend networks, and other last known contact details (e.g. accommodation).

If your loved one is a Foreign National in New Zealand and you haven’t been able to contact them directly and continue to hold concerns, please contact your Embassy or High Commission in New Zealand with full details, including when you last heard from the individual.

As the situation on the ground is still being assessed New Zealand Red Cross is not accepting international tracing enquiries at this moment, we will update you if this changes.