When Joelene Gomes heard about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, she was desperate to get in touch with her brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew who live in a suburb of Tokyo. But that wasn't an easy thing to do.
"All the phone lines were jammed so I couldn't get through until my brother sent me an e-mail and it just had a few words and said 'we are safe' and that was it," Gomes says.
Once her family landed at Dulles, Gomes felt a lot more secure, but her brother Matthew Wickens says the road ahead is long and winding.
"It was the worst earthquake I've ever felt. Everything in our apartment fell out, lots of things falling, cleanup to do," he says.
Wickens says his family plans to stay in the United States for a little over two weeks, but he also says they won't return to Japan at all until they have a better idea of what's waiting for them back home.