UK brothers orphaned in tsunami repay Sri Lankan support

article-2509484-197DFAE700000578-166_634x462Orphaned by the 2004 tsunami, two British brothers have told their story in a book out this week and unveiled plans to build a Sri Lankan children’s home, using funds from their flip-flop business.

Rob and Paul Forkan were aged 17 and 15 when the giant wave hit their hotel in Weligama, southern Sri Lanka, and survived by clinging onto a roof.

Their two younger siblings, Rosie and Matty, also survived the disaster, but there was no sign of parents Sandra and Kevin.

After being told by hotel staff that their father’s body had been found, the elder brothers led the family as they hitch-hiked the 100 miles (160 kilometres) to Colombo before returning home.

They have detailed their journey for the first time in the book “Tsunami Kids” and said they wanted to repay those who helped them with what they hope will be one of several children’s homes.

“We were helped by children in Sri Lanka ourselves and we wanted to do something where we could overcome the most difficult situation and make it into a positive,” Rob said.

The centre, which is already under construction, is funded by the sale of “Gandys” flip-flops, footwear used by celebrities including One Direction, Hollywood star Jessica Alba and singer Jessie J.

Rob and Paul have turned up in their beach footwear to meet Prince Harry in Buckingham Palace Prime Minister David Cameron.

The pair decided to recount their story in book form as the 10th anniversary looms of the December 26, 2004 Asian disaster, which claimed at least 280,000 lives.

“It’s really cool to show our unique upbringing and the crazy journey we went on as kids but obviously there’s this tragedy that we don’t enjoy talking about,” Rob said.

The author laughed when asked what his parents would think of their sons becoming published. “They’d probably have a giggle,” he said.

  • Sri Lankan doctors treat tsunami survivors in Weligama on January 5, 2005View Photo

    Sri Lankan doctors treat tsunami survivors in Weligama on January 5, 2005

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