A few people know that I spent one summer in China six years ago. It seems like less. I was in the Sichan provence teaching middle school in the school buildings, living in a hotel surrounded by apartments, and shopping in their malls and little store fronts. It was amazing and wonderful and overwhelming.
And now I'm not certain if any of those buildings are standing. The city I was in was fairly far from the epicenter but still close enough to be in danger. And I have no idea what kind of building codes those buildings were built under.
On May 12th a huge earthquake hit Sichan. More than ten thousand people have likely died. I can't even imagine ten thousand people. That's a huge number. In some cities most of the buildings are destroyed or in imminant danger of collapsing. Roads, water lines, gas lines, train tracks ... it's all damaged. In 1989 I was in San Francisco when the Loma Prieta quake hit. The quake was surreal - nothing was solid any more. The after affects are unworldly and terrifying. And it was only a 6.9 quake. The Sichan one was a 7.8.
My prayers go out to all affected by this quake. And I also pray that we here in the US will take the time to notice and to help.