Shortly before 9 a.m. on December 26, 2004, about 70 children studied, talked and played at their school in Mullitaivu, on the northern Sri Lankan coast. Then the waves rushed in, flooding the building and breaking the kitchen wall. While some children scaled a mango tree, evading the torrent, half the group -- mostly babies and toddlers -- did not make it. After the waters relented, "the teacher started taking the babies in her room and examining them,"
recalled one young survivor. "They were lifeless." Life was difficult before the tsunamis for children here, a pocket of Sri Lanka ravaged by civil war and stronghold of the rebel Tamil Tigers. Orphanages, sometimes caught in the crossfire, are packed with children whose parents died in the conflict. Although violence isn't pervasive in all areas struck by the tsunamis, poverty is common. Except for those in exclusive resorts, many victims lived in crowded, dilapidated structures and had few material goods. A young boy grieves as he trails a loved one's coffin during a funeral procession in southern Sri Lanka. "They were already