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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dallas Cowboys' Siavii, SMU's Jones impacted by news of earthquake, tsunami

11:12 PM CDT on Wednesday, September 30, 2009
By TODD ARCHER and KATE HAIROPOULOS / The Dallas Morning News

When Junior Siavii turned on the TV Tuesday morning, he was stunned at what he saw.

American Samoa, his homeland, had been ravaged by an 8.0 earthquake and tsunami, and his thoughts immediately went to his family, including his mother Dottie, father Saousoalii and sister Kathy, who live in Pago Pago.

Siavii's sister, Zetta, is visiting the Cowboys' nose tackle and reached their mother via cellphone Tuesday morning.

"When I talked to my mom I said, 'Get everyone on an airplane and get out of there,' but they shut down the airport," Siavii said. "They're not letting anybody go."

So far 120 have died from the earthquake and tsunami in the South Pacific, but Siavii said his family, including more than 20 relatives, is safe.

"They woke up around 7 to take my little nephew to school, and the house was shaking," Siavii said. "They were up when the quake it. They said it lasted about five minutes and they ran out of the house. My dad said they were the only family outside. Everybody else was sleeping, but one lady was at the bus stop and he said she was praying real loud."

Siavii said his family lives on high ground, so they were not affected by the tsunami, but there is earthquake damage.

"Most of my family that lives around the world called and said everybody was all right," Siavii said. "I'm just happy right now and hoping for the best for everybody."

The June Jones Foundation sponsors medical missions and football camps in Samoa, so Jones has been following news and trying to contact friends.

"I've been on the phone with people in Hawaii – who can't get a hold of anybody," Jones said. "All those areas the pictures were taken, every one of them is where we went to the high schools and saw the kids and had our camp. The communications even without a storm are very difficult. Hopefully they'll have communications before long.

"You watch that stuff in other countries, when you know the people and have loved ones ... you just feel so helpless."

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