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Tsunami 'Baby 81' Appears on U.S. TV with Parents

Jenita Jeyarajah, left, and Murugupillai Jeyarajah hold their son Abilass Jeyarajah or Baby 81
Jenita Jeyarajah, left, and Murugupillai Jeyarajah
hold their son Abilass Jeyarajah or "Baby 81"

March 2, 2005

by Kevin Caruso

"Baby 81" whose real name is Abilass Jeyarajah, appeared today on "Good Morning America," a morning television program in the United States, with his parents.

"Baby 81" made international news when he was found alive on a beach in Sri Lanka after the tsunami hit. Nine couples claimed him, but DNA tests were used to determine who the actual parents were.

The proud mother, Jenita Jeyarajah, and the proud father, Murugupillai Jeyarajah, were all smiles as they held their handsome baby and responded to questions.

Jenita wanted her child to be called by his actual name, Abilass. The name "baby 81" was given to the child by the hospital because he was the 81st admission of the day.

"'Baby 81' is a name associated with sadness and worry," she said.

The couple said they were very happy to be reunited with their baby, but they were overwhelmed with sadness, along with others in the community, at the death and destruction that had affected so many.

"We never truly felt joy as there was sadness all around us," said Murugupillai. "Everyone in the village is totally wiped out."

The couple hoped that their trip would raise awareness about the plight of tsunami victims and would encourage people to support them.

Photo Courtesy of AP
Copyright © AP

Copyright © 2005 by Kevin Caruso and Tsunamis.com