Czech supermodel and "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Petra Nemcova is herself a tsunami survivor and spoke out to ET about the devastating earthquake-triggered tsunami in Japan.
Petra was on a shoot in Thailand with her fiancé Simon Atlee when the 2004 tsunami struck Asia. Atlee was killed and Nemcova suffered a broken pelvis in addition to severe internal injuries. She was airlifted out of the wreckage and went through months of intensive care while learning walk again.
"Waking up today was very hard. Your heart sinks seeing those images and reading all the information and looking at the videos," Petra tells ET. "When I look at those images and videos, you feel with the people and you are worrying what they are going through - how much they are suffering right now," she added.
Petra says the key to avoiding bloodshed in such disasters is preparation. "If those people would have a knowledge of how to recognize early warning signs of tsunami and what to do, they could perhaps escape faster, sooner. And having that knowledge would save their lives." She adds: "We can't stop natural disasters, but we can arm ourselves with knowledge and education."
After her own experiences, Petra founded the Happy Hearts Fund -- a non-profit organization with a mission to improve children's lives through educational and sustainable programs in natural disaster areas.