Without in any way wanting to minimise the recent tragedies in Japan, I could only be reminded of the 2003 earthquake in Bam, which caused such destruction in the historic citadel as well as killing around 30,000 people there.
A 3 minute UNESCO film and, even better, a 5 minute Jadid Online film gives a great idea of the monument before and after the earthquake, and tells of at how a reconstruction is being attempted, using photos, maps and an important aerial film from 1981. Traditional craft skills are being used, in combination with more modern digital techniques.
I had visited Bam before the earthquake, and then went again exactly a year after it struck. By then, the rubble that you can see in the film was all cleared from the town, leaving just (amazingly resistant) palm trees, terrible stories of all the deaths, a pile of mud where the citadel was . . and a major local opium problem.
More pictures of Bam are here.