In the spring of 2008, somewhere between 65,000 and 95,000 people died in the Wenchuan earthquake in China's Sichuan province. For months afterwards, life across the vast country was affected by the disaster and its consequences -- human, economic, political, cultural. There was really no other story in China until attention shifted with the opening of the Beijing Olympics.
According to the latest news I've seen, at least 45,000 people have died in the Port au Prince earthquake. Haiti's entire national population is less than 10 million. Something like one out of every 220 people has been killed.
In proportional terms, this is as if nearly six million Chinese people had died in the Sichuan earthquake.
It is as if nearly 1.5 million Americans had died during Katrina -- as if the entire population of greater New Orleans and all its environs had all drowned.
I had registered the stories of individual tragedy but, until I thought about the numbers, had not begun to imagine the scale. It's almost impossible to imagine. One place to help: http://www.foodforthepoor.org/