|It's been 5 days since the largest earthquake on Earth
in 40 years and
the numbers are still mounting. At first it was 10,000. Then it jumped to
25,000. Suddenly it doubled to 50,000. Now it's over 100,000 and recent
reports indicate this is far far below the actual total, with estimates
of over 400,000 in Indonesia alone.
These numbers represent the dead. In Thailand there are 5 injured for every
1 fatality. If that ratio holds true, then there are at least 500,000
injured in over 10 nations (spanning two continents). That ratio is surely a
conservative estimate since only the seriously injured make it to hospitals
where the counts are made.
Combine that with the number of people who might not be injured, but have
been displaced. That means anything from shattered windows and doors to
buildings completely demolished and washed into the ocean. In Sri Lanka
alone, which represents around 25% of the fatalities, there are 1,000,000
people who are now homeless in some way. I think it's safe to assume that
the number for the region could easily reach 2 to 3 million. But these are
just numbers. It doesn't really mean much until you put it into perspective.
Picture in your mind, if you will, a moderately sized city in the USA such
as Provo, UT; Berkeley, CA; Greenbay, WI; Cambridge, MA; or Portsmouth, VA.
These are quite metropolitan areas with large buildings and bustling city
centers. They all have populations of about 100,000 people. Look at one of
those cities again. EVERYONE is now dead. Their bodies are hanging from
trees, floating in the ocean, or smashed under tonnes of debris.
Now think about Wyoming, USA. It's a big state with a relatively small
population: only 1/2 million. Or perhaps think about a very large city in
the US such as Boston, MA; Washington D.C.; Denver, CO; or Seattle, WA.
These are expansive modern cities that are bigger than some small countries.
See all the people rushing about, preparing for the New Year's celebrations?
Now look again. EVERYONE in that state or city now has an injury ranging
from cuts and bruises to severed limbs and crushed bones.
Finally, consider a nice state such as Oregon, USA. Perhaps Iowa or
Oklahoma. These are states with populations of around 3,000,000. Close your
eyes for a few seconds. When you open your eyes, you can see that ALL of the
houses in one of those states have become uninhabitable either because part
of a wall has caved in or because the house has simply disappeared.
This is the reality around the Indian Ocean today. There are still tens of
thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands who are still missing. Almost no
survivors have been found in the debris. If someone is missing, chances are
good that he or she will be found dead or not at all.
But really, it's not just about numbers. Entire cities have disappeared,
entire families have died, the livelihoods of huge sections of various
countries have been decimated, and finally infrastructure has crumbled to
the point that even those millions who managed to survive are now facing a
second tsunami of disease and lack of supplies.
It's not enough to just sit behind the aid our country gives. It's going to
take billions and billions of dollars to not only bring immediate relief to
the region, but also to help rebuild the lives that have been destroyed.
Please consider for a moment how good it is to be healthy and sheltered, how
wonderful it is to have not just lost multiple people whom you love. Please
reflect again on the magnitude of the devastation in Indonesia, India, Sri
Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, the Maldives, Somalia and countless small
islands that no longer have any sign of life. Please give whatever you can
afford to give, give because this is the greatest disaster the world has
seen in many people's lifetimes. Don't just give because you should, give
because you want to.
http://www.msf.org/ (Medecins Sans Frontieres: "Doctors Without Borders")
With sincere thanks,
p.s. you can also help by passing this message on.
It is indeed the biggest disaster in more than 100 years on this planet, and
it's going to take at least 100 times more money than has been pledged by
all the governments in the world so far, just to clean things up - and then
comes the rebuilding of people's lives. Most of the aid will come directly
from individuals, one dollar at a time.
I know you all know this, but I felt I should pass on the info and links
Back to January 1 entry