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Healing spirit, harder task for tsunami-hit Sri Lanka
6/1/2005 14:52

"In the name of a mother, could you please restore my procreation ability?" Sirisena Fernando, 37, pleading Liu Zuohui, another mother and a Chinese nurse as well.
It was on Thursday at the Jananandaramaya temple, a makeshift asylum for some 700 refugees in Hikkaduwa town, 90 km off Colombo, capital of tsunami-hit Sri Lanka.
A 14-member Chinese medical squad was on its aid mission for the third straight day and Liu Zuohui was facing the hardest ever plea from the patients in her 10-year nursing course.
The Sri Lankan mother's salpinx had been cut off in the wake of her third child's birth and the only thing Liu, mother of a 3-year- old girl, could do is wiping the tears off the other mother's face.
The tidal wave came up to swell in over a two-story building in the tsunami tragedy on Dec. 26. Sirisena Fernando and her husband made desperate efforts to grasp all their three children to try to flee the beach house.
All the three children, the eldest 10 and the youngest only one year old, were washed away while the parents who held onto a palm tree survived.
"I wish that my husband and I would die soon if I could not resume my procreation," the mother told Xinhua.
Sirisena is hardly the only one in the town of 15,000 who remain in the aftershock of the worst-ever natural disaster, which claimed for some 30,000 lives across the island nation.
According to Dr. P. L. Gunawardene, head of the health authority in the Galle district, a huge amount of survivors might suffer from mental disorder.
"Too many wounds in body await curing and we have no time at the moment to handle people's wounds in heart," said the official.
Some 90 surgeons and physicians are under Gunawardene's charge in the district, where 4,000 were killed and thousands more injured in the disaster. The official still feels short-handed.
Moreover, said the official, healing the soul is a harder task than healing the body.
Gunawardene had approached mental health research units in the capital for the needed assistance and the prospect remains unpredictable.
At a grocery shop, which survived the tidal wave hit on the Galle Road in Hikkaduwa, Ruwan Kumara, a 26-year-old shop assistant, was seen struggling for a way out of the sorrow of loss.
Ruwan lost all his family -- parents, two sisters and three children of the sisters -- in Paraliya village, three km off the town.
He was at service when the disaster happened all the sudden in the morning on Dec. 26. As the shop was not damaged, he rushed back home to check and found nothing but water blanketed the area, where the seven-room shelter supposed to lie.
"I swim and swim but nothing could be found out," Ruwan lamented.
His mother's dead body was found one day later, and one of his sisters a week later. The rest of the family remain missing.
Ruwan said he would work harder to make enough money to buy a new house and this house will never be seated near the beach side.
Seeking rebuilding of the property is one way out of the dismay.
In the town of Hikkaduwa, pieces of rubble are seen on the tops of trees higher than houses, boats lie snapped in half and vibrant sarees tangled around branches as if hung out under the sun.
Bulldozers are busily removing relics and governmental employees are assessing the damages house to house.
The central government said a reconstruction plan across the nation will kick off Jan. 15 and that will hopefully be the best healing for people's spirit.