Today the New Zealand city of Christchurch was rocked by another large earthquake, a magnitude 6.3 that was shallow and hit close to the city center. It follows months of aftershocks from the first big earthquake to strike Christchurch, a magnitude 7.1 on 4 September last year. A personal note: I live in Wellington, New Zealand, which is about 200 miles from Christchurch. However, I have a number of relatives who live in Christchurch and I'm concerned about their safety.
I first learned of the quake via Twitter, including tweets from people I follow who live in Christchurch. Most of the initial tweets and re-tweets were of coverage by local media: the TV, newspaper and radio networks. Soon after, a People Finder service was published by Google and social media sites like Reddit created special web pages to track the latest news. I've also been tracking my own family's updates via Facebook.
The hashtag #eqnz has been the mobilizing factor on Twitter, including prominent placement to important local Twitter accounts like @nz_quake (an unofficial account that tracks data from GeoNet) and @NZcivildefence (an official account run by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management). There's also a more specific hashtag, #eqnzcontact, to collate information about people affected by the quake.
Google rushed out a Person Finder application, to help people locate relatives. Update: Google Australia advises that Google.org's crisis response team now has a landing page which will be constantly updated.
Related is this wiki, for people to share information about missing people.
CrisisCommons is a non-profit website doing a wonderful job rallying resources. It points to, among other things, a crowdsourced map. Update: Chad Catacchio noted in the comments that this is not an official CrisisCommons initiative, rather it is from CrisisCamp NZ with support from CrisisCamp Santa Barbara and CrisisCamp Toronto.
You can make donations to the Red Cross.
The primary news websites in New Zealand are all frantically updating as we speak. Here are the main ones: NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz (which is the mothership for the Christchurch and Wellington dailies), TVNZ, 3 News. The latter two are the main television networks and their websites include live streaming coverage (3 News, TVNZ). Radio NZ, the national radio service, has ongoing news and a live audio stream. An alternative is Radio Live's audio stream.
If you want to track the news and reactions outside of Twitter and the mainstream news websites, Reddit has a special aggregation page up. This information page is particularly good (hat-tip @JaredNeilsen)
Images from Twitter are being aggregated on Hashalbum.
Please add more resources that you know of to the comments. At time of publishing, 5.45pm NZ, a state of emergency has just been declared in Christchurch. Our thoughts are with the people of Christchurch.
Ed Borasky comments: "Kate Starbird at University of Colorado Boulder has activated the Tweak-the-Tweet system as well. Follow @kate30_dev and @katestarbird." As Ed explained in a post, Tweak-the-Tweet aims to provide a "standardized syntax for Twitter communications." Here is the Volunteer spreadsheet & map (thanks @Org9).
Telecommunications updates can be found at this Telecom NZ web page and on Twitter. Also, Vodafone NZ advised via its Twitter account: "Do not overload phone lines with non-emergency calls, stick to TXT and short calls if you can."
quakebeds.co.nz has information on places to find and offer accomodation for Christchurch people.
If you are a blogger, you may want to add this fund-raising widget fromGivealittle to your site. 100% of all funds donated will be contributed to the official mayoral fund. I've added one near the top of this post.
Tweet stream via EQNZ.co.nz