It's the kind of thing you just don't believe the first time you hear it. It has to be an exaggeration, a mistake, someone over-reacting.
But it's true.
An earthquake, 8.9 on the Richter scale (literally one-hundred-thirty times the force of the last "big" San Francisco quake
Over seven thousand dead.
Over a million people homeless.
Tsunamis in Indonesia, Maylasia, Thailand.
Please pray for the victims and the survivors, and do what you are willing to do.
What really is scary, are two additional factors:
First, that part of the world is ready and perpared for rain and floods. They have no reason to expect earthquakes or twelve-foot walls of water.
Second, an earthquake this big is going to be followed by killer aftershocks. The rescue teams are mostly going to be held back until the aftershocks, likely to be in the 6.5 range, are done. In other words, that means hundreds more dead, maybe thousands.
May God have mercy.
UPDATE, December 27:
The death toll is up past 22,000 now. Please contact the Indonesian Consulate inyour town to help.
UPDATE, December 29:
The death toll is projected at anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 fatalities, with at least twice that number injured, and millions homeless. Vital and immediate needs include drinkable water, medicine, emergency shelters, clothing, and evacuation. If you have not already done so, please contact any of the following organizations about helping:
The International Red Cross
Rescue Task Force
Indonesia Disaster Fund