flooding near the capital ColomboFirst off, thank you to everyone who expressed concern about my family in Sri Lanka; it was much appreciated. I’m glad to say that, after much frantic calling yesterday due to phone lines being down, almost everyone appears to be okay. I had some close relatives from here who were visiting family in Sri Lanka at the time, but they were able to contact us early yesterday to let us know they were safe. They have apparently been living off the generosity of the locals since where they were staying there is no longer a hotel at all! It has been a national disaster and the projected casualty rate keeps climbing 1,000 to 2,000 to 5,000 and shows no sign of slowing. It is a terrible shame as the country’s tourism industry seemed to be on the rise, especially as the political situation became more stable. This will seriously set things back. While the country’s infrastructure was designed neither to withstand nor cope with the aftermath of such an event, we are fortunate in the aid that has been pouring in from India and other nearby countries. But the human tragedy on a personal level is, of course, horrific. The lady who cooked for us during our last visit there had her husband and children swept away, and is now staying with my grandmother. The repercussions for the countless people in such a position is unimaginable.

To all those who have lost family or friends in this disaster, you have our deepest sympathy.