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Tsunami victims live through worst time
By Li Zhongfa (Xinhua)
Updated: 2005-01-09 21:18

Squeezing in the Yananandaramaya temple in the coastal town Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka, 125 homeless families lead a quiet and calm life, a reminder that the worst time of the tsunami disaster has faded away.

Most of the families now focus on picking up their shattered lives and starting anew. Yet it will take a longer time for them to recover from the aftermath as thousands of refugees in Sri Lanka still congregate in temples, camps, and churches.

With children frolicking outside, hundreds of displaced people are distributed in every corner of a large house in Yananandaramaya temple, chatting or sleeping. They seem to have suspended mourning their loss, but long much for space, food and other relief to live on.

Eight-year-old girl Saduni Samanmaly is dedicating herself to drawing a house. Her genuine house was swept away by the giant water, which her family fortunately survived. "I am drawing a house. My papa, mama, my sister and I live in the house," said Saduni, pointing to her works drawn with a pencil.

Saduni is lucky enough to be able to continue her education as a grade two student at a primary school that stands intact. Despite the devastation, schools in Sri Lanka are scheduled to reopen Monday. "I love books and school," the little girl grinned.

In Sri Lanka, some 798 schools in 14 districts are being used as temporary refugee camps. Restarting these schools will be a problem for the government, as alternative places are yet to be found for those displaced.

Nadesha and her family live in a corner enclosed by three stools, a six square meter "room." Sitting on one stool, Nadesha' s mother is having dinner, a plate of rice and a bottle of water provided by the government.

With the world huge relief going on, the country is trying out to alleviate the physical and mental pains brought about by the tsunami disaster. The recovery road, however, is still long one.

"Our house was destroyed by the tsunami, we are expecting our government's help. We want to restart our lives," said 17-year-old Nadesha.


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