The scale of this unique calamity requires a unique response.
It is better of course than it used to be. When Krakatoa erupted near Java and Sumatra one August day in 1883, pill about 40,000 people died, many of them in tsunamis triggered by the explosion. But it took so long for the outside word to find out that not much could be done to help.
But even these days, the clearing up and rebuilding is often left to the local people and their governments who suffered in the first place.
A year ago, the ancient Iranian city of Bam was struck by an earthquake. It killed about 30,000 people. A year on, survivors are still living in temporary shelters.