Google has launched a version of its "person finder" database to help people in New Zealand find loved ones after a devastating earthquake.

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch, the country's second-largest city, at 12:51 p.m. local time Tuesday (6:51 p.m. ET Monday), killing 65 people and trapping dozens of others.

As of 12:10 p.m. ET Tuesday, there were 5,400 records in the Christchurch 2011 version of Google's service, which allows people to:

  • Post information about whether someone is safe, missing or injured.
  • Search for information posted by others, including information posted in other registries using a common data format called PFIF.

The programming tool used to make person finder databases was built by Google engineers in response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. It has since been used in earthquakes in Chile and China and in the Pakistan floods.