Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Arthur C. Clarke is safe
Sri Lanka's most famous foreign resident is safe. Sir Arthur has a message up on his foundation site.
Thank you for your concern about my safety in the wake of Sunday’s devastating tidal wave.

I am enormously relieved that my family and household have escaped the ravages of the sea that suddenly invaded most parts of coastal Sri Lanka, leaving a trail of destruction.

But many others were not so fortunate. For hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans and an unknown number of foreign tourists, the day after Christmas turned out to be a living nightmare reminiscent of The Day After Tomorrow.

Among those affected are my staff based at our diving station in Hikkaduwa and holiday bungalow in Kahawa -- both beachfront properties located in areas worst hit. We still don’t know the full extent of damage as both roads and phones have been damaged. Early reports indicate that we have lost most of our diving equipment and boats. Not all our staff members are accounted for -- yet.

This is indeed a disaster of unprecedented magnitude for Sri Lanka which lacks the resources and capacity to cope with the aftermath. We are all trying to contribute to the relief efforts. We shall keep you informed as we learn more about what happened.

Sir Arthur has lived on Sri Lanka since it was Ceylon. He is no mere ex-pat, he contributes generously to his adopted home. He served for 23 years as Chancellor of Moratuwa University (to which he also contrbuted a computer science department). He is now completely confined to a wheelchair due to post polio syndrome and never leaves the country. That seems to suit him fine.

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