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'Baby 81' back in parents' arms

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KALMUNAI, Sri Lanka: Tiny tsunami survivor Abilash Jeyarajah, otherwise known as Baby 81, was reunited with his parents yesterday after a gruelling court drama.

Four-month-old Abilash, who was rescued from under a pile of garbage, has gained almost 1.5kg since being admitted to the main hospital in the Sri Lankan town of Kalmunai after the December 26 tsunamis.

The toll from the disaster now stands at 290,000 people, 31,000 of them in Sri Lanka.

"The baby is healthy, normal and ready to go," said Kalmunai hospital doctor Upul Premachandran.

Junita and Murugpillai Jeyarajah, who were separated from the child during the disaster, were denied custody by the hospital and underwent DNA testing to prove their claim. A court later ruled the couple were the child's biological parents and ordered the reunion.

They have bought 200 coconuts worth 4000 rupees, about half of the father's monthly earnings as a barber, to smash at five temples in thanks for their baby's safe return.

"We will dash the coconuts to thank the gods. We want to thank god not only for saving our child, but also returning him to us," the child's father said.

The ruling ended a drama that drew international attention after reports that nine mothers who lost children in the tsunamis were claiming Abilash as their own. The reports were later dismissed.

Nationwide, 995 children lost both parents in the disaster while another 3409 lost at least one, according to figures from the Commissioner of Probation and Child Care, Sarath Abeygunawardena.

Abilash, who has become a symbol of tsunami survivors, will be taken to a relative's home where the family is living.


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It's great news for the baby and his parents. grin2.gif

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Thank goodness he has found his family.

One of the lucky ones in so much sadness.

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After such an ordeal to have survived, the parents had to go through this as well, lets hope that life finally improves for them!

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