[We are updating the toll, see the original estimates in the early article below. This is human tragedy on a massive scale.]

And while we celebrate our holidays and our somewhat self centered human existence on this planet, the forces of the natural world drives forward to not so gently remind us of our precarious existence. Driving forward relentlessly, and always blind to the events of man!!

Sumatra / Coast of Sri Lanka: “The initial quake, measuring 8.9 in magnitude, struck about 100 miles (160 km) off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island around 7 a.m. Sunday (0000 GMT), according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center.

It is the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history, according to the NEIC.

Sri Lankan military authorities are reporting over 2,400 people killed, most of them in the eastern district of Batticaloa. Several districts in the country’s south have still not reported casualty figures, and authorities fear the death toll could rise.

Officials, however, said thousands were missing and more than a half million had been displaced.

The huge waves also swept away a high security prison in Matara, in southern Sri Lanka, allowing 200 prisoners to escape. Eyewitnesses in eastern Sri Lankan port city of Trincomalee reported waves as high as 40 feet (12 meters), hitting inland as far as half a mile (1 km).

Sri Lankan officials imposed a curfew as night fell, and tourists were being evacuated from the eastern coasts to the capital, Colombo, unaffected on the west coast.” – [CNN] More…

Thousands of people have perished in one of the most severe earthquakes ever recorded early Sunday morning. Officials are preparing major airlifts of aid to the stricken regions. Can the U.N. step up to the plate and demonstrate leadership in the face of this natural crisis ? We know it has failed miserably in the made made ones in 2004. Kofi Annan.. where are you ?