Sanjaya Senadheera describes how his brother-in-law managed to escape raging waters for Tsunami that swept through Southern Asia. "He was getting in his car when the tidal wave hit. He noticed a tree that was in the way and he managed to put his hands around one of the branches. If he did not hold on to that tree he felt like he might not be alive today," said Sanjaya.
He says his brother-in-law was not able to reach a phone for five hours to call his wife and kids to let them know he was still alive.
Sanjeeva Maithripala immigrated from Sri Lanka to Texas five years ago. His parents still live there. He says he's been terrified since he was unable to contact his parents. "I tried contacting several hours but the phones were out. I couldn't get through to anyone," said Sanjeeva.
He still has had no communication with his parents, but does know they are OK.
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Even though these Lubbock families live so far away from their home country, they are still impacted by the devastation. They never thought this could happen. "Being that Sri Lanka is such a small country and being that it's a 3rd world country and that the poverty level is high, I can't imagine what people are going through," said Ruwanthi Wettasinghe, who has a father living in Sri Lanka.
There is a community in Lubbock with 50 Sri Lanka families who immigrated here. These families tell me that homes have been flooded and about one million people have been left homeless.