Working where I do in the Police we were some of the first to hear about it, and one of the first to hear about casualties (5 confirmed minutes after the quake).
Pressure was on work all afternoon and we had the news on the whole time. Coordinating the response from my department went well though and thankfully we weren't needed much.
Aid has been offered in the form of experts and rescue teams, from Australia, USA, Japan, and other countries, and about 40 search and rescue staff have flown over from Aussie to help and it's really appreciated.
Feel sorry for the people stuck with no where to go tonight because they're in for a cold night, even though its summer
Even worse is the people who are still trapped, and those who don't know if their loved ones are alive or not :/
It's been a looong day
Hope everything resumes to normal as soon as possible.
And my condolences go to those who lost their beloved!
I know somebody who doesn't live all that far away from where it happened (Christchurch?). He's fine and all his relatives seem to be okay but he's pretty shook up about it. There was a quake there last year with 0 fatalities.
I just hope that their families are alright, and that the ones who are missing will be reunited with them soon.