DODGING KILLER TSUNAMI LOCAL FAMILY RETURNS FROM SRI LANKA VISIT FEELING FORTUNATE TO BE ALIVE.Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer
LANCASTER - Nagalingam Rajakumar, his wife and teenage son feel lucky to be alive and back in the Antelope Valley This article is about the Los Angeles County region. For the census-designated place in Wyoming, see Antelope Valley-Crestview, Wyoming.
The Antelope Valley following the deadly tsunami that hit his native Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (srē läng`kə) [Sinhalese,=resplendent land], formerly Ceylon, ancient Taprobane, officially Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, island republic (2005 est. pop. .
In Sri Lanka to visit family over the Christmas holiday, they might have been among the victims had it not been for their son's swelled feet that caused them to cancel a beach visit.
``It's devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. ... my family consider ourselves very lucky to be here, really,'' said Rajakumar, who works as the assistant superintendent Assistant Superintendent, or Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), was a rank used by police forces in the British Empire. It was usually the lowest rank that could be held by a European officer, most of whom joined the police at this rank. for business services at Eastside Union School District.
Rajakumar, his wife, Shyamala, and their 15-year-old son, Nimesh, were visiting Rajakumar's parents and other relatives in Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital, which is located about 60 miles to 70 miles north of where the major damage occurred.
The family had a Christmas party the night of Dec. 25 and the next morning planned to go to one of the beach hotels on the island nation's southern shore and enjoy a buffet meal.
Those plans were canceled, however, because people were tired and Nimesh, a sophomore at Quartz Hill High School Quartz Hill High School is a public, co-educational high school located in Lancaster, California. Founded in 1964, it is the third oldest comprehensive high school in the Antelope Valley High School District (AVHSD). , had swelled feet, either because of mosquito bites or an allergic reaction allergic reaction
A local or generalized reaction of an organism to internal or external contact with a specific allergen to which the organism has been previously sensitized. .
That area the family was planning to visit was hit Dec. 26 by a devastating tsunami.
``Had we gone there, maybe I would not be talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to you,'' Rajakumar said Monday from his school district office.
The death toll from the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tidal waves is expected to hit 150,000 killed in 11 countries that rim the Indian Ocean Indian Ocean, third largest ocean, c.28,350,000 sq mi (73,427,000 sq km), extending from S Asia to Antarctica and from E Africa to SE Australia; it is c.4,000 mi (6,400 km) wide at the equator. It constitutes about 20% of the world's total ocean area. .
Rajakumar still regards what happened with disbelief.
``Who heard about tidal waves in Sri Lanka? It never happened before. That was the first time. No one is prepared; no one knows what do to,'' Rajakumar said.
Rajakumar's first inkling in·kling
1. A slight hint or indication.
2. A slight understanding or vague idea or notion.
[Probably alteration of Middle English (a) ningkiling, of the disaster came when he heard commotion in the streets below his parents' house and saw people rushing around. Rajakumar's sister and brother-in-law telephoned from elsewhere in Sri Lanka, although outgoing lines were jammed.
``They heard what was going on and wanted to come and evacuate us and my parents,'' Rajakumar said.
Rajakumar, who has been through a handful of earthquakes in California, at first didn't think the tidal waves were a big deal. He didn't realize then the extent and reach of the damage.
He ventured out to a beach about 100 yards from his parents' house and saw the ocean waters receding, exposing a reef that had never been there before.
Then the waters rushed back in. ``I didn't look back. I just ran back to the house,'' Rajakumar said.
On a second visit to the shoreline, Rajakumar saw damage to buildings and debris washed ashore covering a railway line and a road.
``People are watching and having fun. For that 10 or 15 minutes, it was a phenomenon for them, to see the water going down. Fish washed ashore, and people were trying to catch them,'' he said.
The Rajakumar family arrived back in the Antelope Valley on New Year's Eve.
The Sri Lankan community in the Antelope Valley has scores of members, who have raised $100,000 to help the tidal wave victims.
Dr. Sinn Moorthy, a Lancaster gastroenterologist Gastroenterologist
A physician who specializes in diseases of the digestive system.
Mentioned in: Rectal Examination
a physician specializing in gastroenterology. , said the money came mostly from fellow doctors and also from patients.
There are between 25 and 30 physicians in the Antelope Valley who are from Sri Lanka, Moorthy said.
Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744