As the true tragedy of the recent earthquake in China unfolds, I along with everyone else can only struggle to wrap our brains around the magnitude of the many people whose lives have been devastated. I had the chance to visit many of the affected areas years ago, yet still the sheer magnitude of the number of people and the difficulty of the terrain are something entirely out of my sphere of understanding. The roads are treacherous even in a good rainstorm, delivering food and water require huge amounts of infrastructure and resources even on a daily basis. The only possible thing I could equate it to is if you took the population of LA/Inland Empire and the San Francisco bay area and combined them into a region the size of Connecticut and then bordered it all with terrain that would have the relief equivalent of that from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney surrounding it, then make it all a jungle and top it with the infrastructure and resources of 40-30 years ago.
It seems we always learn these lessons too late, because this was all inevitable, some time, some day. But none of this can help the people of Sichuan now. Thankfully the PLA is getting every resource at its disposal to save those who could still be saved (unlike Myanmar), and those resources are vast. Godspeed.