Sri Lanka cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan has recalled the tsunami of 2004 that wreaked havoc in Southeast Asia. Over 2 lakh people residing in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives and Thailand lost their lives after the natural disaster on December 26, 2004.
Around 17 years ago, Sri Lanka was swept aside by a magnitude 9.1 tsunami and it was so destructive that it cost the lives of around 38,000 people. Muralitharan has now revealed that could have been one of the casualties had he not been 20 minutes late for a function.
He recalled how cricket helped Sri Lanka unite again and recover from the unfortunate incident. One of the greatest bowlers of all time, Muralitharan said that life and death came almost close together on that fateful day.
While talking to Daily Mail on the 17th anniversary of the tragic event, the legendary spinner revealed that he was leaving for a function with his family members when the tsunami occurred. He was about to attend philanthropist Kushil Gunasekera’s Foundation of Goodness (FoG) charity function for children.
Foundation of Goodness was established in the year 1999. It works for various programs like women empowerment, environment, clean water, children and youth development, language and arts.
Muralitharan said on his commute to the event, they saw people shouting away. He went out of the car and heard people warning them saying “Seawater has come to the land, don’t go that side, the Galle area."
“We luckily turned back and raced back to Colombo. When we switched on the TV, we see the effect of what has happened. If I set off 20 minutes earlier, I would also have been caught in the waves," he said.
Muralitharan said that pain is difficult for him to explain :because of the situation we went through." He was an ambassador for the World Food Programme at that time. Through officials of the World Food Programme, he got food machines and provided them to people in affected areas.
Dr. David Young, an orthopedic surgeon by profession who had served as the Sri Lanka cricket team doctor, brought over a team of surgeons from Australia to help people, Muralitharan added.
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