"When I heard, my first thought was for my family in Sri Lanka," recalls Sri Lankan Crish Erkel. "I was so distressed because, we come from a coastal region and I was calling for days and days and the phone lines aren't working."
Crish got the call today. She was lucky. Her family survived. But as the death toll continues the rise, and places to stack the dead continues to run out, even the survivors lives are in danger.
"People are using plates and cups to dig graves. There are bodies everywhere, women and children. It's like a holocaust. There is the threat of typhoid, dysentery, they are trying to dig the dead as fast as they can," said Crish.
The beaches that are covered with corpses were covered by sunbathers only days ago. They had no warning.
"With the power of the thirty foot waves, they had no chance," said Crish whose brother was vacationing on the Sri Lankan coasts only weeks ago.
To help the victims and her family, Crish is working with a Crozet–based organization called "Advancing Native Missions," or ANM to help the victims.
The group has people on the ground, doing research, and telling ANM what they need. 'ANM then wires them money for what they need. Pastor Oliver Asher says right now, what they need is most basic, water.
"Dirty water has come in and contaminated all the water. There are dead bodies, animals in the water, spreading the disease. We are just trying to get bottled water here," Asher appeals.
Right now groups like AFN and the Red Cross are trying to help those survivors survive, but with a natural disaster of this magnitude will need years of support.
"We are in phase one. But a disaster will go on for time. They need international relief for right now and in the future," said Lonnie Kirby from the Red Cross.
Your help is desperately needed. You can donate money either to ANM by calling (434) 823–7777 or logging on to
Or you can donate to the Red Cross by calling (434)979–7143.