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Last Updated: Monday, 14 February, 2005, 12:12 GMT
Tests vindicate tsunami baby pair
A nurse holds 'Baby 81' in hospital in Kalmunai
Baby 81 and his parents will be reunited on Wednesday
A Sri Lankan couple who said that a baby boy found in the debris left by the tsunami was their son have had their claim confirmed by a DNA test.

"Baby 81" became a symbol of tsunami suffering after he survived the Indian Ocean disaster on 26 December. Eight other couples offered to care for him.

Murugupillai and Jenita Jeyarajah said the boy was their son, Abhilasha, born four months ago.

A judge said the baby and parents would be reunited on Wednesday.

The judge, MP Moahaidein, announced the DNA results in court in the eastern town of Kalmunai. The Jeyarajahs were not present.

Legal claim

"I am so happy, and I only have to thank God for giving my child back," the boy's father, Murugupillai, told Associated Press.

TUG OF LOVE
Junitha Jeyarajah and Baby 81

"We've got the results for all our hardships."

The family lost all their belongings to the tsunami and have been living in a camp close to Kalmunai.

Earlier this month, the couple were arrested and then released on bail after they were accused of trying to snatch the boy from hospital.

The Jeyarajahs, the only couple to file a legal claim, were angry at a court ruling ordering the DNA tests.

Before the ruling, they had said they were confident of being united with the baby, who they maintained was their son born on 19 October 2004.

The couple said he was separated from them when the tsunami struck. A neighbour rescued the boy from under a pile of rubbish.

Baby 81 was given his name because he was the 81st person admitted to the Kalmunai hospital on 26 December.

The tsunami killed more than 200,000 people around the Indian Ocean, nearly 31,000 of them in Sri Lanka, where children are believed to make up about 40% of the dead.

The tsunami left about 1,000 orphans in the country, according to data quoted by the UN's children's fund, Unicef.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How a couple were proved to be the baby's parents



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