The victims of Sunday's attacks in Sri Lanka came from around the world, cut down in a series of attacks that shocked the world.

Among the at least 290 people killed in bombings of churches and hotels were at least 31 foreigners. Victims came from 12 countries.

The vast majority of the victims were Sri Lankan, many from the island nation's Christian minority. Their names and other details of their lives have been slow to trickle in and difficult to report, in part because Sri Lankan authorities blocked most social media after the blasts.

But among them was Dileep Roshan, 37, a carpenter who left behind a wife and daughter, his family told the Associated Press.

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"His wife and daughter won't be able to do much now because he is gone," said his older brother, Sanjeevani Roshan.

"The real question is what will happen to their future."

A man whose Australian wife and only child died in a bomb blast in St Sebastian's Church in Negombo said he walked out ahead of his family moments before the explosion.

Sudesh Kolonne told Australian Broadcasting Corp that he saw his 10-year-old daughter Alexendria dead on the floor. Her mother Manik Suriaaratchi was also killed.

"I don't know what to do," he said. "We used to go to that church every Sunday.

"We never expected this."

Ben Nicholson was on vacation from Britain when the blast at the restaurant of the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo killed his wife, Anita, and their 14-year-old son Alex and 11-year-old daughter Annabel.

Sri Lankans pray during a three minute nationwide silence observe to pay homage to the victims of Easter Sunday's blasts outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo. Photo / AP
Sri Lankans pray during a three minute nationwide silence observe to pay homage to the victims of Easter Sunday's blasts outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo. Photo / AP

He said that "mercifully, all three of them died instantly and with no pain or suffering".

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American Dieter Kowalski, from Denver, was excited to be in Sri Lanka for his job with an international education company. His family in Madison, Wisconsin, were notified of his death and his mother, Inge, was working with the US embassy to bring her son's body back to the United States. She said the family were in shock.

Three children of billionaire ASOS boss Anders Holch Povlsen — Denmark's richest man and the second largest private landowner in Britain — were killed. His family had been visiting Sri Lanka for the Easter break. The Danish billionaire has become Scotland's largest landowner and had revealed his plans to give his estates to his children just days before they were killed.

In an open letter posted a few days ago, he and his wife Anne Storm Pedersen said they would pass on their 12 estates — and their "rewilding" project — to their children.

Following the attacks in Sri Lanka, Nilantha Lakmal was among the survivors of the blast at St Sebastian's Church in Negombo and afterward told of the panic and terror inside after the bomb went off.

He had just arrived with his wife and three daughters for Easter Mass.

From the corner of his eye, Lakmal saw a man with a large blue backpack walking quickly down the left-hand aisle of the 1940s Gothic-style church.

Within seconds, a bomb went off.

Mourners grieve as victims of the St Sebastian's Church blast are buried in Negombo. Photo / AP
Mourners grieve as victims of the St Sebastian's Church blast are buried in Negombo. Photo / AP

"I was scared. I was shouting. I was shouting for my daughters. I was shouting the name of my youngest daughter. I was running around, looking for my family. It felt like a long time but I found them," Lakmal said.

He hurried them to an auto rickshaw that was waiting on the street near the church, and then headed back to look for his parents and his nephew, who had arrived at the church separately. All eight relatives were unharmed, including his daughters aged 8, 6 and 1.

Lakmal, who was married and baptised his daughters at St Sebastian's Church, said he led shocked and wounded people flowing out of the building toward the street. He didn't have the wherewithal to go inside.

Lakmal, 41, remembers well the bloody end of Sri Lanka's civil war, which the United Nations estimated left about 100,000 people dead. The war ended in 2009 with the Government's defeat of the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group from the ethnic Tamil minority fighting for independence from Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka.

But he had never expected his neighbourhood church in Negombo, a largely Catholic city north of Colombo, would be a target.

The church had been planning to celebrate a big feast day for Jesus' mother Mary at the end of May.

But even if it had reopened by then, Lakmal said he doubted he'd return.

- AP, news.com.au