Sri Lankan ‘miracle of Lebanon’ returns home penniless

TYRE, Lebanon, July 30, 2006 (AFP) – Vasanthi Darmadasa was sweeping her employers’ garden when her life changed. An Israeli bomb came thundering out of the sky, destroying the house and killing everyone there — except her. “I was thrown to the ground by the shockwave. I didn’t feel anything in my legs and I did not feel anything in my hands,” said the young Sri Lankan maid who came to work in the southern Lebanese village of Yaruon, seeking a better life.

“I didn’t dare to look,” she said. “I knew what happened was horrible. I started to cry, and cry, and cry.”

When she opened her eyes she discovered that her employer Hassan Farhat, his mother, his wife and their two children — aged two-and-a-half and four months — were lying dead under the rubble of their house.

Three days after the air strike she was able to join a convoy of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) heading for the southern port city of Tyre which although itself battered by Israeli raids has become a sanctuary for refugees.

Somehow, miraculously, the 20-year-old was not hit by the bombardment and the debris which flattened everything surrounding her.

The border village of Yaroun lies virtually in the middle of the maelstr