International students from the University of Montana are worried about their families back home in Kumamoto, Japan, following back-to-back earthquakes.

NBC Montana reports Rina Kasuga's family lives close to the quake’s epicenter.

"I'm just very shocked with all the pictures and images," she told NBC Montana. "I'm so scared by the news from Kumamoto."

Kasuga struggled to get ahold of her family after news of the quake.

"I called my mom and dad. They didn't answer," she said. Eventually her parents were able to email her. Right now they're staying in a shelter.

The same story for student Emi Okitsu, whose family lives in the next town over.  "I was very shocked, I cried," she said. But thankfully, her family is safe too.

Both of the students say for as long as they can remember, they've never experienced an earthquake as large as the 7.0 magnitude that rocked the area early Saturday morning in Japan.

Okitsu says her family reported feeling aftershock waves more than 200 times.

The women say water, gas and electricity are wiped out in the area. Okitsu told NBC Montana her family should be staying in a shelter, but her grandfather is very sick and needs in-house equipment and can't leave.

Kasuga and Okitsu are part of UM’s Japanese Student Association. They're holding a fundraiser for Kumamoto at UM's International House this Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The event will feature Japanese food, Japanese cultural activities and face painting. For more details, you can visit the event page here.

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