Wednesday, January 05, 2005 AD The Tsunami in Perspective (Last Paragraph Edited) The following disaster facts were shamelessly stolen from Dr. G's Blog; I just put them in chronological order:
856: Multiple historical records indicate that more than 200,000 people were killed in central Persia (modern Iran) in one of the deadliest earthquakes on record.
1138: A deadly earthquake in Aleppo, Syria claimed the lives of at least 230,000 people.
1228: More than 100,000 people drowned in Friesland, when a North Sea storm surge flooded much of Holland’s lowlands.
1556: In the Chinese province of Shensi the most deadly earthquake in history resulted in an astonishing 830,000 deaths.
1642: Chinese provincial rebels destroyed the Kaifeng seawall; as a result more than 300,000 people drowned in the coastal floodwaters.
1755: An earthquake leveled much of the city of Lisbon and was felt as far away as southern France and North Africa. More than 70,000 were killed.
1908: The city of Messina was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake. The death toll ranged anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 throughout Sicily and southern Italy. A tidal wave followed, causing even more devastation to the town of Reggio across the straits.
1920: In Jiangsu Province, China, an earthquake measuring 8.6 in magnitude killed more than 200,000 people.
1923: The Great Kanto Earthquake, estimated at 7.9 in magnitude, destroyed one third of Tokyo and most of Yokohama, leaving 2.5 million people homeless. The quake resulted in the Great Tokyo Fire. Floods followed as the rivers Fukuro Chiyo and Takimi burst their banks. At least 143,000 people were killed, although unofficial estimates say as many as 300,000 may have died.
1927: A magnitude 7.9 earthquake claimed approximately 200,000 victims in and around Xining, China.
1948: An earthquake measuring 7.3 in magnitude killed at least 110,000 people in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
1970: Some 200,000 people in eastern Pakistan were swept away to their deaths by a cyclone-driven tidal wave from the Bay of Bengal.
1970: An earthquake measuring 7.8 magnitude destroyed the northern Peruvian towns of Casma, Huaraz and Chimbote. A quake-induced rock and snow avalanche on Mt. Huascaran buried the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca. There were some 66,794 people killed and more than 400,000 were left homeless.
1976: Tangshan, China suffered an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale. Twenty square miles of the vast city was utterly devastated. Three years later, the New China News Agency released figures following the inaugural Congress of the Chinese Seismological Society which claimed 242,000 dead and 164,000 injured. But, the U.S. Geological Society estimated that the actual death toll was probably nearer 655,000.
1976: A 7.5 magnitude quake and the resulting mudslides caused horrific destruction just north of Guatemala City, leaving over 23,000 dead, 80,000 people injured, and 1.5 million homeless.
1985: An earthquake registering 8.1 in magnitude struck central and southwest regions of Mexico, devastating part of the capital city and three coastal states. Somewhere between 12,000 and 25,000 were killed and another 40,000 were injured.
1991: A cyclone killed over 131,000 and left as many as 9 million homeless in southeast Bangladesh. But thousands more died from hunger and water-borne diseases in the weeks and months afterward.
1993: Up to 22,000 people were killed and 36 villages were destroyed after a series of powerful earthquakes rocked western and southern India. The first of the five tremors measured 6.4 in magnitude.
1999: Heavy rains caused catastrophic flooding and mudslides, killing an estimated 5,000 to 20,000 people, in Venezuela’s worst modern-day natural disaster.
2003: An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale left more than 41,000 confirmed dead as the entire ancient city of Bam, Iran collapsed into a heap of rubble.
Dr. Grant notes,
We are all too quick to forget. The fact is, we live in a world of woe. Sin has ravaged God’s good creation in horrific ways. The stunning destruction of life in the tsunami disaster this past week only highlights the fact that history is often little more than a mind-boggling, bone-jarring, and soul-wrenching litany of sorrows—making the very real and substantial hope of the Gospel all the more remarkable.
The historical evidence is simply that our fallen world is a dangerous world. This is nothing new--despite what the harum-scarum prophecy "experts" may contend. "The whole creation groans for the day of redemption." It always has. And until Christ's triumphant return, it always will.
This is not to belittle the tragedy of the recent tsunami, but it is to put it into perspective...not just the perspective of a brief span of human history, but the perspective of eternity and infinity. The tsunami was the end for many, but not the end of all. The tsunami was enormous, but God is that than which nothing is greater. The tsunami was powerful, but God is almighty over all. The tsunami was terrifying, but God a consuming fire who alone is worthy of our ultimate fear...a fear from which alone comes peace.
As we consider the enormity of the recent tragedy, it is tempting to let it eclipse all else from view like a penny held close to the eye can seem to block out the sun. (Heck, if we're honest with ourselves, we're tempted to let our every hangnail to do the same thing.) We tend to say that such a disaster puts things in perspective, but we shouldn't. The tsunami (or the hangnail) is not to be treated as the point of reference for all other reality; God is. To maintain the proper frame of reference, which is to give God the glory He is due, we must keep our eyes on Him and keep close to Him. In fact, we need to be in Him, in which case we'll never see anything without seeing Him, because He will be the view in all directions.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 1/05/2005 10:21:00 PM
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