Lincoln Residents Wait for Word That Loved Ones Hit by Tidal Wave are Safe

As of Monday night, the number of dead is approaching 24-thousand from Sunday's south Asia earthquake and devastating tidal wave. Hardest hit was Sri Lanka, where 12-thousand have died.

Tom Tidball spends half the year living here in Lincoln, and the other half running a homeless shelter for children in Sri Lanka. That's where he was for the worst natural disaster in the island nation's history. As soon as John Tidball heard about the devastation in Sri Lanka, his thoughts turned to his son. “My first thought of course was about the safety of the family, I wanted to make sure they were all right. So I sent an email.”

Before he had time to worry long, John's son Tom wrote back from Sri Lanka. Tom and his wife, Sriyani, both survived. But the shelter was a total loss. “He said the shelter they operate, or have operated, over there is essentially gone. Wiped out.”

Tom, who also works as a photographer in Sri Lanka, described to his father a scene of complete devastation. But John says his son will rebuild the shelter with perhaps more demand for it's services than ever before. John says as relieved as he is to know that his son is ok, he is heartbroken for the beautiful little island his family loves so much.

Channel 8 Eyewitness news also spoke Monday morning with a Lincoln woman who last heard from her son early on Christmas morning, when he was preparing to scuba dive off the coast of Thailand. She hasn't heard from him since, and is still waiting to hear if her son is safe.