People light candles to commemorate last year's May 12 Sichuan earthquake at People Square in Shanghai May 12, 2009. Mourners crowded ruins in southwest China on Tuesday to mark one year since an earthquake shattered the region... REUTERS/Aly Song photo
It is not hard for me to identify with these Chinese mourners, living here on the San Andreas Fault. The "Big One" could happen any day -- but, of necessity, we act as if the earth will remain fixed and secure forever. It won't -- it hasn't even in my short memory. The other day a new acquaintance showed me her city issued "preparedness volunteer" badge as a sort of joke and we all laughed. Periodically we are swamped with instructions for bolting stuff down and assembling survival supplies for a time when outside aid may not be unavailable. We either get with the program -- or we don't.
It's hard to take in the sheer scale of what happened in China. Everything there is big.
I don't know what that means. None of us do.
An Alertnet blog post by Thin Lei Win reminds us a piece of the story that usually disappears from disaster narratives: what happens to the maimed survivors, especially elders. We instinctively focus on children, the future, looking for revived hope. But everyone doesn't die and some are old.
Meanwhile, the injured who survived number some 50000 people, many without legs or arms or needing rehabilitation.
On the more cheerful side, and concurrently a view of the magnitude of the damage, is this YouTube [9:48] about the relief project thought up by a couple of U.S. musicians resident in China.
H/t James Fallows.