Victoria Temple, features editor of The Citizen in Gloucester, was on holiday in Sri Lanka when the devastating tsunami hit.
She was separated from her boyfriend but found him alive and well in a Buddhist Temple where a group of people were gathered.
“My initial reactions were not journalistic but were quite simply instinctive human reaction. I was running for my life.”
Temple, 32, explained that everyone had a story to tell and no one was reluctant to speak. “People told me about escaping the sea with their children, or their hotel washing away.
Later, when I was able to write up a report, those conversations were imprinted in my mind.”
She heard first-hand accounts of people clinging to ceiling fans to avoid being swept away and running through the water and over broken glass away from the wave.
“Of course, there was no access to a notebook, telephone or internet along the entire coast and mobile phone masts were down.”
“The area remained cut off and it was only when I got to Colombo airport 24 hours later that I had any access to communications.”
Temple filed a 1,700 word account to The Citizen within 30 minutes from an internet cafÃ© at the airport.
The Citizen has launched an appeal fund for victims of the tsunami which has so far reached £130,000. The paper’s editor Ian Mean has asked Temple to return to Sri Lanka in a year to report on the recovery process.
? The Newark Advertiser series is donating the entire sales revenue of this week’s issue to the tsunami appeal. Editor-in-chief and managing director Roger Parlby said: “We were determined to play our part in helping to bring hope and relief to the stricken countries”
By Sarah Lagan