But, I'm also talking about the possible meltdown of the current political system. In the aftermath of this disaster, it's likely to follow the same trend as El Salvador did after that massive earthquake. The disatisfaction with the response of government brought down their dictator, and ushered in years of political upheaval.
Estimates of the dead range from the relatively conservative (CNN - 1,000) to the likely-over-the-top (Foxnews - 10,000). It's hard to say; a lot will depend on how quickly the rescue can bring in food and, more importantly, water. If disease starts, all bets are off.
Only a few aspects of the situation are clear:
- it's going to be expensive to restore the infrastructure
- it's going to be costly in terms of human life
- it will alter the balance of power in the Far East (if you don't think that Russia and China will try to take advantage of this, you are hopelessly naive)
- the final outcome will depend on small things, done quickly