A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Canterbury Province in New Zealand (population: 440,000) Monday just before midnight local time. There are approximately 75 fatalities confirmed with a potential for that number to reach more than 300. The New Zealand government has declared a state of emergency and has been conducting search and rescue efforts throughout the day yesterday and overnight (local time).
The structural damage is reported to be more significant than the 7.2 magnitude quake that impacted the area last September due to the depth and epicenter location, but assessments are ongoing.
Microsoft activated its Disaster Response protocol and we are taking a number of steps, including ensuring the safety of our employees and offering customers, partners, and local response agencies technical support to help ensure business continuity.
We know from our work supporting response efforts for other disasters in the past that technology can help response agencies to deliver aid more quickly and efficiently. We are working with lead government organizations and non-profits to assess where our resources can be most helpful.
In addition, Microsoft New Zealand is offering support to effected customers and business partners. We hope this will help our customers as they respond to the disaster and rebuild their IT capability in the coming weeks and months. More information about our support offerings can be found here.
As with any disaster, we know our employees want to help, and we will direct them to donation and volunteer opportunities as they become available.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the people affected by this devastating earthquake and hope that our support will help with relief and recovery efforts in the coming weeks and months.
Posted by Claire Bonilla, Senior Director, Microsoft Business Continuity and Disaster Response