Prince Charles pays visit to tsunami-hit Sri Lanka
Britain's Prince Charles consoled Sri Lanka's tsunami survivors Monday during a short visit of the devastated eastern coast, saying he was "terribly upset" at the extent of the damage and loss of lives in this former British colony.
After arriving by helicopter in the Batticaloa region, the prince met with a fisherman, a Hindu priest and Red Cross volunteers.
Prince Charles, accompanied by government officials, asked the fisherman, Vellupillai Sellaiya, if he had received any help to resume his business. Sellaiya, who lost his fishing boat and all his nets, said he hadn't received aid yet but added that the government had promised to help.
Later, the prince visited a partly damaged Hindu temple, where he spoke with the priest. He was given a garland and was painted with an orange-color round mark on his forehead, part of Hindu tradition to bless temple visitors. He also met with ten Red Cross volunteers.
The prince arrived at Colombo's international airport after dawn Monday, and about 30 minutes later boarded a Sri Lankan air force helicopter for Batticaloa, where he landed on an abandoned soccer stadium amid heavy security.
Prince Charles also was to meet with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and British diplomatic staff before departing later Monday for Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.