Remembering the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Last year on the 13th anniversary of the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami we were in Phuket Thailand. It was difficult to find any sign of the disaster
remaining in Thailand, where about 5000 people perished.
But it’s still very much apparent here in Sri Lanka. Here 50,000 people died on December 26, 2004 including 2000 who died here in the town where we are living when the train they were riding was swept away.
Right here where our little Castaway Cottage now sits, a families home was destroyed. The concrete slab only remains, a memorial of sorts. The family, our Airbnb hosts, survived and moved forward, in the resilient way the Sri Lanka people seem to.
Our tour guide we had on our five day tour was in Colombo on that day. Luckily the waves did not affect Colombo on the West Coast of Sri Lanka. Many more lives would have been lost in the largest city in the country.
We visited a temple and the Monk told us how on that day the temple washed away. Still today signs of rebuilding part of the school there. Resilient.
There are subtle reminders often; a memorial to fifty lives lost in Yala National Park; a high water mark at a beach bar in Hikkaduwa; empty buildings and hotels still not rebuilt; trees growing where families once thrived.
The most public memorials in this area are for the train victims. Two memorials are built- one by the resilient Sri Lankan people with an artists version of the devastation on the train that day. The other, a gift from the Japanese – a giant Buddha statue next to the train tracks where so many lost their lives. This beautiful statue marks where the second wave hit. The most devastating wave to strike – and to kill.
Day to day life goes on around these memorials, despite the fact everyone here was touched by this event in some way and will never be the same. But these resilient people easily get my vote for the friendliest of any people we have met on our travels. Kind, polite, happy, resilient. Lucky.
Fabulous Sri. Lanka
Note – we leave Sri Lanka in a couple of days and will be heading next to India for a brief five day stop. More from India when we can. Thanks for following.