REPORTING FROM SRI LANKA

I broke the news of the 9/11 disaster as it happened on air. But nothing – not even the Twin Towers massacre – could prepare me for the horror of so many deaths here in the Indian Ocean.

Sky News was the first British broadcaster to present live from the disaster zone. We dispatched correspondents to many of the 11 countries affected.

I was sent to Sri Lanka. It took 23 hours to reach the disaster zone.

From the capital Colombo to Galle in the south the devastation we witnessed will stay with me for ever.

Cars and coaches were strewn by the roadside. Others blocked what remained of a rail line that had been taking more than 1,500 people from the capital Colombo to Galle.

At the moment the train passed the gigantic wave struck, sweeping away the carriages. Only 10 on board survived.

Stopping at a café we tuned into the local TV news channel. The photographs of those missing and the desperate appeals from their loved ones was heart-wrenching.

Further down the road we were forced to stop again as rumours grew of another tsunami heading for the coast. We tried to remain calm and matter of fact, but the truth is we were terrified.

Within 30 minutes of our 23 hour journey I was on the air and broadcasting.

Amid all the confusion, desperation and hurt a couple of stories illustrate how the human race is resilient to almost anything.

We met a couple from the Midlands who should have married on Sri Lanka on the day the tsunami struck. In a very British gesture of defiance, they tied the knot three days later in the shattered garden of their hotel.

As we enter 2005 the first baby of the New Year has been born on Sri Lanka. A tiny little girl who brings fresh hope amid so much despair.

By Kay Burley, Sky News

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