On a trip to California a few years ago, we experienced 2 earthquakes.
Once when we were driving and the car seemed to lurch forward oddly - we thought we were having engine troubles.
The 2nd earthquake that shook us was unnerving, to say the least.
We were awakened in the early morning hours by the rattling of the very heavy hotel room door as though it was a hollow door with someone large and angry trying to come in. My next realization was that the bed was shaking...and it shouldn't have been.
My reaction was to get up and put on my pants with the desperate intent to GET OUT. The shaking stopped before I got zipped up and my husband kept trying to tell me it was over and I didn't need to get dressed. I "explained" that I HAD to go outside...to be outside RIGHT NOW. (No, I do not suffer from claustrophobia.)
We heard later that we'd experienced a 5.9 earthquake. Pretty mild by most Californian's standards.
But that - and the aftershock that shook the truck later as I was loading it, was Way more than I wanted to go through ever again.
The shaking of the earth is not a casual thing.
The earthquake in Haiti last year and the recent earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan are beyond comprehension.
(The Boston Globe's "The Big Picture" covers the recent earth quake/tsunami with many photos that can only hint at the devistation. The video link I had here seems to have become inaccessible and I removed the link 3/15.)
Shortly after the news came in, the need to help in some way became overwhelming for me:
Red Cross support options to help Japan
Doctors without Borders is in Japan
World Care is collecting supplies and funds to help Japan (Supplies to be donated can be left at Local Walgreens Stores!)
Best Friends Animal Rescue Preparations
International Rescue Committee
Save the Children
Actually, this blog seems to cover a lot of good options.
And in case you haven't already gone here:
Red Cross donations to help New Zealand
Ways to help Haiti
World Care Helping Haiti