I've been looking at photos and news stories about the earthquake in Haiti.* It's nightmarish. An earthquake of 7.0 or more on the Richter scale creates havoc unimaginable to those who haven't seen one.
Two days before Christmas, 1972, the capital city of Nicaragua was flattened by an earthquake of 6.2 Richter. That is a bit more than one tenth of the force of this Haitian quake. I arrived with a group bringing aid three days later. I remember the smell of death, the vultures circling over piles of rubble that had been tall apartment buildings, the sandwiching of living spaces compressed into foot-thick dust between cement slabs, the desperation of survivors without food or water. 5,000 people died in those first few minutes, many more in the following days.
Haiti looks to be worse. Probably much worse.
I have no heart to be blogging at the moment. Greg Laden has links to news and aid agencies**; go there, help out!
*More news sources: Reuters, Photos, BBC, Country profile, BBC, Twitter updates.
**More aid possibilities: Doctors Without Borders. In the US, the State Department has set up a cellphone donation link: Text "HAITI" to 90999 and you will be charged for a $10 donation to relief efforts. (Courtesy Rachel Maddow, via DailyKos)