On 14 November, 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit central New Zealand, killing two people and injuring 56. The quake devastated the South Island coastal tourist town of Kaikoura, which is cut off from the rest of the country. Several rural towns in Marlborough are also severely affected, with no power or water. The Wellington central business district was also damaged, and several tower blocks are damaged. New Zealand Red Cross has had to evacuate its headquarters due to the risk of a neighbouring building collapsing on top of it, and staff are working from temporary premises around Wellington.
50 personnel are involved in the response on the ground. In Kaikoura, Red Cross is running a welfare centre and is going door to door to assess people’s needs. The air force helped transport Red Cross equipment into the area, including emergency generators, satellite communications, water bladders and tap stands. In Marlborough, teams are distributing water and tarpaulins and running a welfare centre. They are also going door to door providing psychosocial support to those worst affected.