Westminster academic feared dead after tsunami

January 14, 2005

An academic from the Policy Studies Institute at Westminster University is feared dead after the tsunami disaster in Sri Lanka.

Stephen Lissenburgh was with his two sons Vikram and Nikhil, his wife, Sonali, and other family members when the waves hit Sri Lanka at the end of December.

The PSI confirmed this week that the body of Dr Lissenburgh's son Vikram and the boys' Sri Lankan grandparents, Edward and Gemini Deraniyagala, had been found.

Dr Lissenburgh and Nikhil are both missing, feared dead. Ms Lissenburgh survived.

The institute issued a statement saying: "Stephen inspired affection and admiration in all his colleagues and will be sadly missed."

It said that Dr Lissenburgh's work on labour market issues, including an evaluation of the New Deal initiatives and working opportunities for disabled people, had made a major contribution to national policy.

The statement said: "Our thoughts are with Stephen's wife, Sonali, who survived the disaster, and we offer our deepest condolences to all their family here in Britain and in Sri Lanka."

Michael White, an emeritus fellow of the PSI, said: "Steve wanted to make a difference, and he did make a difference. With more time, he would have made a great difference."

He added: "Most years, Steve went to Sri Lanka with his family for Christmas and the New Year. He loved Sri Lanka and when he came back he loved to talk about the good times he had there.

"He had a big capacity for enjoyment. Surely he was happy there in his last days and hours."

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