Red Cross member Kath Cosgrove said Kaikpura locals are starting to break under the stress following Monday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
The red cross are offering counselling to those who need it and are aiming to check on everyone in the area.
"The emotional cracks are starting to show.
"We're a shoulder to cry on and I'm really good at giving hugs.
"How they're feeling is normal and it's OK to feel the way they're feeling.
Cosgrove said she's being helicoptered in to remote regions this afternoon where she gets five minutes at each house to see what assistance residents need and give "as many hugs as I can give them".
"They're holding up. The men are being stoic.
"I've visited a lot of families who are rallying together and helping each other which is what you want.
An air shelter is being set up at Kaikoura Suburban School today for rural families to access food, water and essentials like nappies will be available.
"We're quite excited. It's really helping the community get together and support each other.
Cosgrove said the Red Cross effort is primarily focused on locals. She has heard some tourists are reluctant to leave.
"They've got all their gear in their campervans hoping the road will clear and they'll be able to get out."
Leaflets were handed out to tourists yesterday explaining that while they appreciated their visit they were encouraged to leave to reduce the drain on resources. They were offered flights out and free rental cars to continue their travels.