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Sri Lanka Child Assumed Dead In 2004 Tsunami Is Found After Six Years

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A six-year-old Sri Lankan girl previously believed to have been lost or killed during the 2004 tsunami has been found after six years.

The BBC reports that the girl was living with a couple who claimed falsely to be her parents in Colombo. According to Anoma Dissanayake of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), the girl, believed to be from the southern town of Galle, "was not legally adopted and her identification papers were falsified. We will now be conducting DNA tests to find her real parents."

Staff at the NCPA were called to the family's home after neighbors alleged that the girl was being abused, the AFP is reporting. The child's foster-father claims she had been bought for about $20 from a worker at a hospital devastated in the disaster, which killed over 30,000 people. "It was obvious their story was untrue," Dissanayake told the BBC. "You cannot buy children off the streets in Sri Lanka as if you were buying mangoes." The foster-father has since been arrested, although police are continuing to search for his wife.

NCPA officials say there is no evidence that the girl had actually been mistreated. Dissanayake said that it could take anything between a week to a year for her agency to find the child's parents. "Until her real parents are traced the girl will looked after by us," Dissanayake said.