Local Ties to Devastation in South Asia

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Imagine being here in Rockford, not knowing if your family in Sri Lanka had escaped the devastation. That was the situation Reverend Dill de Alwis found himself in Sunday. Luckily, his family is safe, but the recovery process has just begun.

Dill de Alwis' mind isn't on his work Monday.

"I'm here, but not here," he says.

Everywhere he turns he sees it, the devastation in his home town of Colombo, Sri Lanka. His family there is safe, but in the church where he used to be a pastor and where his brother now preaches.

“I know people who've lost loved ones and I know people whose homes have been devastated," says de Alwis.

In between helping his customers Monday, de Alwis has set up a relief fund at National City Bank. He's also making plans to gather and ship needed supplies to his brother's church, especially water.

"That's the biggest issue, drinking water, because the water system is polluted in most areas," says de Alwis.

Victims are also in need of milk powder, rice and flour as well as clothes and blankets. He's hoping to get a shipment to them in the next few days.

"I'm hoping FedEx or DSL or someone can come to our assistance, if nothing else I'll go to the post office and send the packages myself," says de Alwis.

De Alwis says any donation, small or large, will help make the long road to recovery a bit smoother.

If you are interested in making a donation to the relief fund, you can call the National City Bank on East State Street at 395-3629. If you want to donate supplies like drinking water or non-perishable food items, you can call Dill de Alwis at 399-4686.