NJ Indian and Sri Lankan communities mobilize for tsunami victims

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:53

    Shocked by deadly tidal waves that killed more than 22,000 people in south Asia, members of New Jersey's Sri Lankan and Indian communities are rounding up medical supplies and cash donations for victims. Doctors in New Jersey are collecting antibiotics, anti-diarrhea medication and water purification tablets, as well as money to buy bottles of fresh water. The lack of drinkable water and the danger of waterborne illness are the most immediate threats in the region, they say. Meanwhile, anxious families are still trying, with mixed success, to reach loved ones in flood-ravaged areas for word on whether or not they survived. ``Almost all of the homes are damaged,'' said Dr. Sandran Waran, a Morristown physician helping to collect medical supplies for the victims. ``The fury of the waves came straight in. In some areas, the water came more than a mile inland. So many people live within that zone.'' Waran, who had vacationed in a coastal resort area of Sri Lanka at this time last year, said this is a popular period for Sri Lankans living in the United States to return to their homeland. He fears many American physicians could be among the dead. Waran and other doctors from New Jersey were calling each other on Monday, making plans to place notices in local hospitals seeking donations of supplies, and to solicit drug company representatives who visit their offices to donate drug samples to the relief effort. Members of the state's Indian community are also pitching in for the relief effort. Pradip Kothari of Woodbridge, president of the Indian Business Association and the Indo-American Cultural Society, was making calls Monday to colleagues in New Jersey, as well as trying to reach contacts in India to assess the damage and plan the best ways to get help overseas.