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Utahns Have Ties to Victims of Tsunamis

Utahns Have Ties to Victims of Tsunamis

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingSome families have already heard from their loved ones and friends that may have been affected by the tsunami. It has been a difficult time for those here in America who are trying to get information about friends and family who may have been in harm's way.

The Jayaraman family has lived in Utah for 20 years, but still has family in the Indian coastal town of "Chen-eye" Sunday Morning, Ruki Jayaraman was headed out for some after Christmas shopping when she heard on the news a tidal wave had hit her native country of India. Immediately she called her mother.

Ruki Jayaraman: “At that point Sunday morning when we talked to them, they didn’t have too many details.”

Most of her family was okay, but her sister-in law's cousin was traveling and, on a whim, stopped at the beach to take photographs of the sunrise.

Ruki Jayaraman: “She was washed away apparently, and suffered severe injuries. The toddler didn’t even have a chance, the one-and-a-half year old. He was swept away by the water and they finally found his body buried under a lot of sand and debris, which is really tragic. My sister-in-law’s cousin’s father, he is still in ICU; he’s got some bad head injuries. They still haven’t broken the news to him that his daughter and grandson are dead.”

The nine-year old girl is hospitalized, upgraded from critical to stable. Their car and a family friend who drove them to the beach have not been found.

And though she is saddened by the loss, Ruki says at least their family is all accounted for. Her heart goes out to those who search for the missing among the dead. And she worries about the future for the tens of thousands who will try to rebuild their lives.

Ruki Jayaraman: “It’s going to take a long time for people to recover.”

It is still difficult to get much information about victims, but the state department has a phone number you can call to find out about the welfare and whereabouts of American citizens.

For information about the welfare and whereabouts of American citizens, call 1-888-407-4747.

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