COLOMBO (AFP) – A six-year-old girl found at a house in Colombo is believed to have been sold by a hospital worker soon after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Sri Lankan child protection authorities said Thursday.
Staff at the National Child Protection Authority went to the house after neighbours complained that the girl was being abused, an NCPA spokesman said.
The spokesman said the child’s foster-father claimed she had been bought for 25 dollars from a worker at a hospital devastated in the disaster, but the authorities have not been able to verify the claim.
The man was arrested, the spokesman said, adding that the man’s wife was missing and that police were looking for her.
The NCPA appealed to the public to help identify the girl’s biological parents.
“The NCPA is appealing to parents who lost an infant at the time of the 2004 tsunami to come forward for a DNA test,” the spokesman said.
Some 30,000 people were killed in the 2004 tsunami, which devastated much of Sri Lanka’s coastline in the island’s worst natural disaster.
The December 2004 tsunami was triggered by an undersea quake off Sumatra, Indonesia, that killed more than 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean.
The NCPA’s official figures show that 995 children lost both parents while another 3,409 lost at least one in the disaster.