Seeing as the New Zealand city made it relatively gracefully through a 7.1 earthquake in September, it was a shock to see the death and destruction caused yesterday by a 6.3 originating close to the surface in the same area, coupled with two aftershocks over 5.0. I spent four happy months in New Zealand some years ago as part of a study abroad experience, so it was particularly difficult to see places I had visited and historical buildings I stayed near in Christchurch (and the beautiful Banks Peninsula nearby) shaken to the ground.
I've been checking back frequently to Red Cross NZ to donate to relief funds, but they're so inundated with requests (to, I imagine, both give and receive aid) right now that the website isn't even responding. But I'll keep checking back.
Salvation Army is supposedly taking donations, though it's tough to navigate the website in a way to donate to a particular cause.
This has been a difficult hit for NZ's second largest city, which was already recovering from a tough 2010. I hope various donation venues (time, money, auctions) become clear soon so those outside of NZ who would like to help can do so.