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Survivor speaks a few words

Man found under rubble of shop

From Kasra Naji and Satinder Binder
CNN


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Sirasena is recovering from a broken arm, dehydration and pneumonia.
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A man survives in the tsunami rubble for two weeks without food or water. CNN's Satinder Bindra reports (January 9)
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GALLE, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- A 60-year-old man, believed to have survived nearly two weeks under the rubble left by a deadly tsunami, has spoken a few words, telling doctors he has a son and daughter.

The man, who says his name is Sirasena, was severely dehydrated and has pneumonia when he was admitted to Karapitiya Hospital on Saturday. He was only able to mumble his name, and has said little more since then.

Doctors say his condition is common among survivors, many of whom spent a lot of time in the water. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Doctors put a cast on his right wrist Sunday to set a fracture which they say looks to be between several days and a couple of weeks old. The man has a growth of beard which would be consistent with two weeks without shaving, and is suffering from amnesia. He is 15 to 20 kg (33 to 44 pounds) underweight.

They said it was possible that rain following the disaster kept him hydrated enough to live.

His story has become a light of hope for Sri Lankans, who lost 46,000 in the December 26 tsunami.

He has been given electrolytes and sugar intravenously, and doctors are waiting until he can tell them more. Officials were checking to see if the man was on a list of the missing.

"Miracles do happen," Dr. Chandra Pala Mudanngake said.

The man was found under the rubble of a shop in Galle's market area, which was wiped out by the massive waves. The volunteers who found him turned him over to police, who brought him to the hospital.


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