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Escaped from tsunami, caught in fire

From killer waves to relief camp fire, death has been too close a call for an Indonesian infant. HT Relief Fund
PTI | By Agence France-Presse, Singapore
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2005 12:54 PM IST

An eight-month-old Indonesian baby who survived last month's tsunamis has been rushed to a hospital in Singapore with severe burns after a fire in the relief camp he was living in, a report said on Friday.

Heru suffered 35 per cent burns on his body when one of his siblings accidentally knocked a kerosene lamp onto his cot, setting the bedding afire, the Straits Times newspaper said.

An Australian aid worker, Winston Cuthbert, discovered Heru in a terrible condition at a hospital in Meulaboh, a town on the west coast of Indonesia's Aceh province that was devastated in the December 26 disaster.

"His eyes were completely closed up. They were congealed with mucus and blood. His burns were just popping up all over," Cuthbert told the Straits Times.

Heru, who was taken to the Singapore General Hospital, was believed to be in a critical condition when he arrived on Thursday, although Cuthbert said he was starting to heal.

"Every time he screams, we smile, because that means he's better," Cuthbert said.

The Singapore Red Cross said part of the 65 million Singapore dollars (39.6 million US) it had received in donations to help tsunami victims may be used to pay for Heru's treatment.

Heru's parents, a bicycle taxi driver and a farmer, as well as his six siblings survived the tsunamis, which are believed to have killed more than 230,000 people in Indonesia, nearly all of them in Aceh.

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