Relief and rescue crews continue to help those affected by last month's devastating tsunami. More than 150,000 people died in the disaster, 30,000 of those in Sri Lanka. The devastation affected many lives around the world, including a Lubbock couple who lost several close friends.
Native Sri Lankans, Daya and Samanmalee have only just begun to accept the destruction of their homeland. The couple and their family had visited just a few months back, and they say nothing could have prepared them for losing so many they knew.
"We heard about it on December 26th morning, some friends of ours called and alerted us about what happened," say the couple. Right away they frantically tried to reach friends and family to make sure they had survived. It took almost a week, but Daya and Samanmalee Sugathadasa learned their family was alive but many of their close friends weren't.
"We have a lot of friends dead or later we found out like I have a friend, her husband and their two and a half year old daughter, all three of them died in the tsunami," says Samanmalee. Friends the couple and their family had vacationed with just this past summer. The very beach, now gone. "And it could have been us I just put me in that position and I think it could have been us because we were on those beaches this summer and then it would have come and we would all have been gone," she says.
Through the death and destruction, their grief brings about so many unanswered questions. It's really sad, I've been crying. Even now I just look at it and I just cry. Something more than that because these people are so poor anyway it's really sad. Why them? I really feel sorry for them," explains Samanmalee.
|From Lubbock With Love Tsunami Campaign|
This summer the couple plan to travel to Sri Lanka to try to adopt an orphan, adding one more child to the four children they already have and giving new hope to someone left alone in this world. "I think God has given us enough to share with them so I think we could do that," says Samanmalee.
The couple lost almost a dozen friends. They say family they have spoken with are grateful for everything our community is doing to help.