and fiancee escape killer waves
By Marlon Fernandopulle
Sri Lanka's champion off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan
and his bride-to-be Madhi from South India, who were driving along
the coastal line last Sunday were heading towards a village in the
South escaped from the deadly Tsunami waves only by a whisker.
left Colombo in the morning to Seenigama, a village about 90 km
south off the capital, as he was to distribute essential school
items to 100 school children.
ceremony was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Colombo North which
is led by Jean Samuel and co-ordinated by Muralitharan's manager
Kushil Gunasekera's Foundation for Goodness.
to the Sunday Times Kushil Gunasekera said: "Murali along with
his bride-to-be Madhi and her mother together with Murali's mother
and brother were expected at Seenigama around 10.30 for the scholarship
for some reason or the other Murali got delayed by about 20-30 minutes
and that probably saved him". Murali said of his brush with
disaster, "It was somewhere near Kalutara that we noted that
the sea was becoming restless and we were forced to return."
asked why he delayed to leave for the ceremony Murali replied,"It
was nothing in particular but I just overslept." However Gunasekera
said that a bus load of around 50 children who were the recipients
of the scholarships along with their parents who were on their way
to Seenigama were killed in the tragedy.
the time of the incident about 50 other children had already arrived
and were seated in the Community Hall awaiting the arrival of Murali.
Suddenly we realised that giant waves were surging towards the hall
and ran for our dear lives.
was unbelievable. We had to run with gigantic waves chasing us".
Gunasekera confirmed that practically the entire village of Seenigama
was destroyed and most of the villagers were killed. "We buried
eight more bodies today with the help of the Sri Lanka Army",
said Gunasekera who is co-ordinating relief operations in Seenigama.
Muralitharan who is also a UN Goodwill Ambassador, visited Jaffna
on Friday to assist in the World Food Programme. According to Murali
around 8,000 are believed to be confirmed as dead and a further
12,000 missing in Jaffna.
off spinner is expected to visit Trincomalee,Galle, Matara and Hambantota
this week as part of his mission with the United Nations. Muralitharan
is being assisted by his employer Janashakthi Insurance and East
West Marketing in his humanitarian work.