New Zealand’s capital city, Christchurch, was hit by an earthquake Tuesday at around noon local time. Various media sources report that a number of buildings collapsed. Over sixty are known dead, and others are missing and likely trapped beneath the rubble. The city’s airport and main hospital are closed and being evacuated. The steeple of Christchurch cathedral is down.
I lived in California for over twenty years, and experienced the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area. Although it was overall a more massive quake than this one, it also was farther from the city. From what I can see in video and reports, the effect on people is roughly similar. Christchurch residents need our help.
While I normally favor donating to small local charities, for a disaster in a different part of the world a donation to a large charity with good connections is often the best choice. I like Shelterbox, a UK-based disaster relief organization, for most large natural disasters. They specialize in providing temporary shelter, bedding, portable stoves, and similar equipment in areas where large numbers of dwellings have been destroyed, leaving residents with nowhere to live. Shelterbox does not yet have anything up on their web site about the quake, but I expect that they are already making plans to go there.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) also does not have any information about New Zealand on their web site, but they are another fairly reliable group of organizations that you can donate to for disaster relief.
Please post other suggestions in the comments! :-)