A FATHER and business leader who had family caught up in the Asian tsunami has appealed for help with "forgotten" disabled survivors of the disaster.

Sri Lankan Ivan Corea, 47, from Buckhurst Hill, runs the Dream Harvest training and development college, in the Broadway, Stratford.

His son Charin, eight, suffers autism and both he and wife Charika have been active campaigners in helping similar affected youngsters in Sri Lanka and Britain over the last few years. He is chairman of the UK Autism Awareness Campaign.

It took Mr Corea several agonising days to get through to family by telephone in the water-ravaged country to make sure they were safe and well.

He is now turning his attention to the disabled people affected by the tsunami.

He told the Guardian: "Nobody on the television has been talking about disabled people affected by the tsunami.

"I'm highlighting that by setting up an appeal to help them. Anyone with old crutches and wheelchairs they can donate should get in touch.

"We couldn't contact out family until December 29, several days after the waves hit. They are okay but it's heartbreaking to hear stories about those affected.

The island of Sri Lanka is decimated.

"The response has been phenomenal. It's amazing, the British public have been great, they're so giving. People I know from the area have been ringing me up to ask if my family are okay. Everyone is so kind."

Mr Corea has now set up a website appeal to help those affected by the disaster. He is calling for donations of tents, blankets, linen, clothing, food, water purification tablets, drugs, wheelchairs and crutches. The Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka website is not collecting money directly but is working with partners the Rotary Club of Colombo to assist the needy in the affected areas. It is also working with the Sri Lanka High Commission in London to dispatch collected goods.

He said: "Many more people have become disabled as a result of the horrific injuries they have received so please don't forget the disabled community in Sri Lanka.

"Disease and extreme poverty will rock Sri Lanka as people have lost their livelihoods, their homes, their schools and thousands of businesses.

Mr Corea is now calling on Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown for more long-term aid. Visit http://member.tripod.com/autism_srilanka to find out more.