MSU students react to Sri Lanka bombing

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EAST LANSING, MI. (WILX) -- The deadly Easter attacks in Sri Lanka sent shock waves around the world, with hundreds injured or killed.

The incident affected people both on the island and here in mid-Michigan.

At Michigan State University, 40-50 people represent Sri Lanka. For every one of them, this incident hits a little too close to home.

"To continue to see the footage on the TV is a bit heartbreaking, because we couldn't do anything to help them in any way," said Hashini Galhena-Dissanayake, a Faculty Advisor at MSU.

There was sheer panic and worry among the Sri Lankan community in East Lansing after eight explosions killed and injured hundreds on Easter Sunday.

"My friend, who's a classmate of mine and a mom, had passed at one of the hotels. They were having Easter breakfast as a family…she was one of the victims,” said Galhena-Dissanayake.

Many of them found out about the attacks through social media.

The incident came just a week after the Sinhalese New Year – a period of celebration followed shortly by tragedy.

"All of last week was a holiday for everybody...it was sad that after that this whole things happened. It was shocking for all of us," said Vish Vapali, the President of the MSU Sri Lankan Student Association.

Ten years after the end of the country's civil war...they're reminded of the conflict that spanned just over a quarter century.

"This was a period of peace for us after conflict ended, and to suddenly hear about this devastating attack was a little bit of a shock to all of us," said Galhena-Dissanayake.

And all they can do is hope and pray for those they love.

"All night and yesterday i was trying to call people to try and find out if they were okay...it was really hard," said Vapali.

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