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Lanka launches US$3.5 billion recovery drive
"Let the tsunami tragedy be the start of a new beginning to rebuild our nation,"



After one of the greatest displays of nature's wrath in modern history, the death toll continues to climb, surpassing 200,000. The tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004, triggered by an undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean off Indonesia, sent giant killer waves from Sumatra to Somalia that wiped out whole communities and flattened beachside hotels. The sea that for millennia has sustained numerous fishing peoples -- most of them poor, vulnerable and in remote places -- showed its cruel side, bringing unspeakable tragedy to millions.

In the words of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, this is an ''unprecedented global catastrophe'' that requires an ''unprecedented global response''. And this is a colossal challenge to the international community to respond in the name of humanity like never before.

Full Storylatest summary report

Full StoryDamaged Health Facilities

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Full StoryWho is working in Sri Lanka?

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Should you come to Sri Lanka?

The answer is: Good God Yes!!

You should come without misgivings. No one will expect you to keep politely quiet about the tsunami, or gloss over it awkwardly: nor will they expect you to spend any of your time looking for good works to do. It is enough that you are there, and later you will go home and speak well of the place, and while you are here you are spending something. It might seem nothing to you - it should seem nothing to you - but the 150 rupees (about 50p) you spend on sweet roadside coconuts, hacked open by machete, for a party of five will wreath the vendor with smiles: his family eats that night. Full StoryFull Story


How development made tsunami worse

Scientists cite factors that increased wave damage
One resort, for the purpose of better scenic views, had removed some of the dune seaward of its hotel. The hotel was destroyed by the tsunami, wrote the researchers, who included experts at Cornell University, Texas A&M University, the U.S. Geological Survey, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Washington, the University of Southern California and New Zealands National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Neighboring areas where the dunes were intact were not as badly damagedFull StoryFull Story


TSUNAMI IMPACT: 'Aid Promoting Big Business'

TAFREN is dominated by a group of elite business leaders
Representatives from farming, fishing and anti-corruption groups from the countries hit by the December 2004 disaster say post-tsunami rehabilitation efforts have been marred by inequity, top-down policies and a lack of coordination, financial and policy transparency, and community participation and are urging the European Union (EU), as the largest donor to their countries, to take responsibility for efficient delivery of aid. Full StoryFull Story


Rebuilding tsunami-hit Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka

Reconstruction of 197 temples will begin this month
The Minister for Buddhist Affairs pledges that funds wont come from foreign sources and that volunteers from other religions will be kept away. Full StoryFull Story


House designed to withstand tsunami  

1,000 dwellings to be built in wave-hit Sri Lanka
Carlo Ratti, a teacher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was at a wedding in Sri Lanka when the tsunami struck the region last December. When he returned to MIT, he worked on the design of the tsunami-safe(r) house with colleagues at MIT, Harvard University and the British engineering firm Buro Happold.Full StoryFull Story


Reconstruction slowed to a crawl, hampered by bureaucracy, incompetence and corruption

Six months after tsunami , thousands of survivors still in sweltering tents
Chaos and confusion typify the relationship between the international efforts and the Sri Lankan Government. While frustration grows in the aid community, anger is building among the survivors. The angriest are the so-called 100-metre refugees who lost their homes close to the sea and are now forced to live in limbo, barred from rebuilding their homes where they stood and dependent on the Government to build them a home elsewhere. Full StoryFull Story


Going it alone: Hard lessons for tsunami-relief volunteers

A harsh dose of reality
With limited resources and no experience in relief work, the freelancers have struggled in the face of obstinate bureaucracies, profiteering local businessmen, tensions with mainstream aid groups and resistance from villagers, most of whom remain too fearful of another giant wave  or too dependent on aid donations  to leave their refugee camps and return home.Full StoryFull Story


After Tsunami, Mothers Want More Children

Sri Lankan mothers seeking reversal of tubal ligation
For the Tsunami victims until now the basic issue was how to survive, now some have started to think how to get the family together again. Many Sri Lankan mothers choose to be sterilized after their second or third child, normally through tubal ligations. The surgery involves cutting a woman's fallopian tubes, then tying or closing them to prevent pregnancies. In the reversal surgery, the tubes are reconnected. The surgery to reconnect the tubes is expensive by Sri Lankan standards -- about 50,000 rupees, the equivalent of $500, and success is far from guaranteed. The Sri Lankan government says it will help families pay for surgery to reverse sterilizations. Some private hospitals, including Nawaloka, say they will perform them at reduced or no cost. Full StoryFull Story


Man-made trouble in wake of tsunami

U.S. sex offender, convicted drug trafficker ran Sri Lanka orphanage

An American with felony convictions for drug trafficking, sexual assault and check fraud surfaced to run an orphanage in Sri Lanka for more than two months. The man, Daniel Curry, 37, is actually Daniel Wooley, 41, and is also known as Daniel Taze  the latter a registered sex offender in California. He used the name Fogg while serving time in a Mexican prison for drug trafficking. Somewhere along the way, presumably after his release from prison in March 2003 he linked up with Michelle Curry, a computer professional in San Diego, and started using her surname.Full StoryFull Story


Tsunami may have helped spread of alien species in Sri Lanka

Spread prickly pears and salt-tolerant mesquite observed
"Our local plants and animals have not co-evolved with these alien plants so when alien plants dominate in the ecosystem they will reduce the diversity of the local fauna and flora."Full StoryFull Story



Tsunami Aftermath: Here comes the light

At the Beach Hut in Arugam Bay things are moving ahead

Eventually the fog began to lift. A friend visiting from Colombo provided Ranga with a mobile phone and a small loan. Other contributions trickled in from former guests, a Briton, a couple of Australian surfers, a young man from Brooklyn who had visited several years before with his father.

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Aftermath of Tsunami : How did we survive?

From then on, the Sri Lankans completely looked after me. For three days, Hynes travelled around the south coast looking for Convoy, begging lifts to hospitals that were doubling up as morgues . The kindness of locals kept her going. She was given tea, food and clothing in the hospitals she was checked into, while in one, a woman  a complete stranger  sat her up in bed and combed her hair, stroked her arm and urged her to stop crying.

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Sri Lankan principal tells story of tsunami in Komari

Story of David Kanpathipillai
It was 15 minutes after the first wave and 15 feet high, and had traveled the Indian Ocean at the speed of a jet. The wall of water slammed through the town. On the YMCA roof, David Kanapathipillai's children watched their mother and grandfather be swept away. But their mother reappeared, swimming to the top. A man who had taken refuge in a coconut tree was able to grab her hand. But the wave was too powerful. She slipped from his grasp. For the second time, her horrified children watched the tidal wave carry their mother away, this time for good. Her body has never been found.Full StoryFull Story


'Come, Come to Sri Lanka

Tropical delights of many kinds await those willing to make the long journey
Time, on the other hand, is treated quite casually. If youve made the two-day journey to Sri Lanka, you undoubtedly want to relax, but Sri Lankans tend to operate more slowly than you probably like. The 2:15 car that is arranged to meet you might arrive at 3 p.m. instead. Your waiter will disappear indefinitely. The harried New Yorker will either appreciate the lowering of the blood pressure, or burst. Full StoryFull Story



Reverend Heber Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International, recently visited Sri Lanka and met with Venerable Dhammawassa, Chief Monk of the Sri Subodharama Buddhist Centre located in Kandy, a hundred miles north of the housing project in Hambantota. The housing project, which was carried out in only 50 days under the supervision of senior Buddhist monk, Venerable Wattegama Dhammawassa Thero, has been racing against the clock, with the monsoon season fast approaching.Full StoryFull Story


Tsunami aftermath in Sri Lanka : Suffering and Hope

"We can't expect foreigners to come here to cry for us"
"I lost my father, but I can't go on crying every day," Mr. Raveendra said. "What's the use of that? He was 80. He couldn't run fast enough from the wave." His attitude reflects Sri Lanka's determination to resurrect its tourism industry from ruin after the Dec. 26 tsunami ravaged much of its coastline. The Tourism Ministry has begun a $6 million marketing campaign to lure visitors back to the island, but the strategy has had only limited success.
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Patch Adams heals the wounds with humor in Sri Lanka

Clown doctor says laughter can heal tsunami wounds
The man in the clown suit was Dr. Hunter 'Patch' Adams, the American doctor who inspired a Robin Williams movie and has been travelling the world hoping to change it with love and laughter.
"I decided to come to Sri Lanka as I have a great feeling of tragedy and desire to encourage people to rebuild after the tsunami,"
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Sri Lankan brew suffers tsunami hangover

coconut palms damaged many toddy tappers washed away
The tsunami destroyed hundreds of acres of coconut groves along Sri Lanka's southern coast and swallowed a dozen tappers in Wadduwa alone. Seaside coconut palms the centuries-old drink is tapped from and aged to make alcohol were damaged by December's tsunami, and many workers who used to shin up the trees were washed to their deaths. Full StoryFull Story


Sea takes treasures back from museum

Tsunami swept away hopes of country's first maritime museum
GALLE, Sri Lanka (AFP) - Marine archeologists spent nine years trawling the seabed of Sri Lanka's Galle port to collect thousands of centuries-old treasures buried underwater in shipwrecks. But it took just a few seconds for them to be reclaimed by the ocean when a tsunami battered the shores of this island nation on December 26 and swept away everything in its path, including hopes of opening the country's first maritime museum. Full StoryFull Story


Modernizing the fisher folk: Will it work?

"Modern Houses to replace Shanties"
(BG) The relocation of fishing communities is one of several issues Sri Lanka is confronting as it struggles to rebuild. "Our idea is to move the fishermen into housing" away from the coast "that is different, vastly different, from what they were used to," said Tara De Mel,  head of the Center for National Operations. "The type of housing that will be designed -- apartments or small cabanas -- will definitely be more modern than what they're used to, and that's what our team of architects and engineers are putting together." Authorities in Sri Lanka have tried many times to move fishing communities by building them houses inland. "Every time they've returned," said P. Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Center for Policy Alternatives. "Often they just rent out the home they were given and go back to the beach." Full StoryFull Story


Amid the Ruin and Sorrow the Reservoir of Kindness Remains

"We survived the trauma of this disaster in Unawatuna because we had the generosity and hospitality of the Sri Lankans. Every family in the village took in tourists for the three days we had to wait before we were evacuated. They shared their meager belongings, their limited food and their precious water. They, who had nothing and had lost much, gave everything."

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Tsunami lifts JVP

As Sri Lankans walked around stunned after the Dec. 26 tsunami and as federal officials were absent in the midst of the worst national disaster in memory, the JVP was on the street in force, with an aid plan, and with an advertising campaign that would have make Washington lobbyists envious. In the south and east the movement put on an extraordinary show of organizational readiness, in the midst of sudden tragedy.Full StoryFull Story


Making Peace With the Punishing Sea

Oluvil : Conquering the waves with fear inside

A wall of water rewrote his life, his livelihood and his village. Instead, he stood on the beach under a moonless sky, unmoving and unsure, intimidated by waves he would have challenged easily three weeks ago. Full StoryFull Story


Tea with the Tamil Tigers

(Salon.com) Inside a camp controlled by Sri Lanka's militant rebels, I investigate rumors that the Tamil people are being shortchanged in tsunami aid. From my limited research, I'm reasonably confident that the Tamil camps, in Tiger-controlled areas, are being treated as well as their Muslim, Hindu and Christian compatriots, and that the rumors of their neglect have been greatly exaggerated. Like the refugees I have visited throughout Sri Lanka, the Tamils are a people whose plight transcends religion or ideology. Full StoryFull Story


Disabled lay in their beds as waters engulfed them

Some floated away on mattresses to their deaths

GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) - Screaming with fear, paralysed children at a shelter for the physically disabled and mentally ill lay helpless in their beds as water surged into their dormitories during the tsunami that ravaged coastal areas of southern Asia. Some desperate children gripped the rafters as the water level rose inside the one-storey Sambodhi shelter, while others floated away on mattresses to their deaths, witnesses say. Just 41 of the 102 residents of the home survived, caretaker Kumar Deshapriya said Saturday. Full StoryFull Story


Assessing Needs Where There Are So Many

some assistance was coming from a local church but recipients were asked to pray at the church in order to receive the care packages. Consequently, many were very uneasy about receiving further aid. Although Sri Lankans are tolerant of other religions, they have been wary of religious organizations in the post-tsunami era. This has been confirmed in the local papers as a major concern in the country and it was a theme brought up by people we spoke with.

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Tsunami Aftermath: Post-Traumatic Stress

(Salon.com) "We're not seeing a lot of injuries anymore," he replies. "Most of what we're dealing with now is post-traumatic stress disorder." What's interesting, Kerr remarks, is that the men, women and children all manifest the syndrome with different symptoms. "For children, the main thing is fear of the sea," Kerr says. "They won't go near the water. For women, they can't sleep. When they come in, they tell us everything is fine -- but soon the truth comes out. They are just not sleeping. For men, it is different. They come in, claiming to be sick and looking sick. But they are not sick; there is nothing physically wrong with them. Then we know it is the post-traumatic stress." Full StoryFull Story


'Baby 81': No Name but Many Parents

Tsunami Takes him to New York

(AP) One man standing outside the nursery at Kalmunai Base Hospital threatened to kill himself and his wife if they are not given the baby. A woman at the hospital said she would kill the doctors unless she gets him. The battle over the wide-eyed boy, who appears to be about three or four months old, symbolizes the enormous loss in the Dec. 26 disaster. The infant, bruised and covered in mud but otherwise healthy, was brought to the hospital hours after the tsunami struck Kalmunai. He was given the nickname "baby 81" because his real name is not known and he was the 81st admission that terrible day. Full StoryFull Story

(Photo @ AFP Baby 81 plays with actress Uma Thurman in New York, )


Arugam Bay: The buried village

(Salon.com) Prior to the tsunami, Arugam Bay was considered one of the 10 best surf spots in the world; the British held their surfing championships here in 2003. Aside from a thriving tourism industry, the community included thousands of fishermen and their families. But the three waves of December's tsunami struck this region with apocalyptic force, killing an estimated 3,000 people, flattening the fishing villages, and turning the strand of beachside hotels and restaurants into a scene of Hiroshima-like ruin.Full StoryFull Story

Full StoryArugam Bay wiped out within a flash

In memory of Per Goodman

Stardust Will Rise From The Ashes

Stardust was the jewel hotel of Arugam Bay and the dream of Merete Scheller and Per Goodman. It was a hotel, a paradise and a retreat for many grateful guests from close and afar. In his characteristic, charming way, he shared his personal thoughts and aspirations with every guest and he let his deep understanding, generosity and love for the local people of Pottuvil. On 26th of December 2004 Tsunami killer waves destroyed the hotel and took its creator Per Goodman with it.Full StoryFull Story

Full StoryGoodwill alive and well after disaster

Full StoryArugam Bay The buried village

Full StoryArugam Bay wiped out within a flash


Tsunami Survivors form " Friends of Unawatuna "

A British survivor of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster Jake Zarins returned to Sri Lanka today to assist the local community which helped him and other tourists escape the devastation. He said: People who got out after the incident are helping because we got a lot of help from local people at the time when they should have been concentrating on their own friends and family. Friends of Unawatuna hopes to raise more money and help the villagers rebuild the basic infrastructure necessary to allow them to reconstruct their lives.Full StoryFull Story
Full StoryA Reservoir of Kindness in Unawatuna

Full StoryA report from Unawatuna Beach Hotel


SENTHALIR : war orphans devastated by tsunami

There were 135 children aged between 3-15 years in one home called Senthalir. This home was completely destroyed with heavy loss of life. 94 children lost their lives. 38 survived. Only 30 bodies so far have been recovered and identified. Very tragic indeed. Senthalir in English means Tender Sprout. Very young children, taken away in a moment of madness by the ocean. Let us take a few moments to remember and pray for their souls.Full StoryFull Story

Man saved 5,000 from tsunami
Sri Lankan recognized threat, sent village to safety

Arizona State University Professor Fernando and other scientists stopped Thursday in Galbokka to learn why, though the area was hit hard by the giant wave, only one life was lost. In similarly hard-hit areas, as many as one-third to one-half of the residents were swept to their deaths. As the team sought along the narrow road on the southwestern coast for a turnoff to the village, a woman who was asked for directions pointed down a narrow dirt track. "You must talk to Victor," she said. "It's because of him that we didn't die."
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Planning the unplanned

Architecture for Humanity to rebuild Kirinda

Architecture for Humanity has sent a team of planners, architects, biologists and environmentalists to Kirinda in the hope of helping villagers to rebuild their community in a safe and sustainable way. "The community will be a 50% player in this," Sinclair stresses. "But when push comes to shove, we will be making the tough decisions." The team plans to work in Kirinda throughout 2005, and hopes to begin extensive building work this summer.

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A Tale of two Disasters and the Fickleness of Terror Politics
(UTHR) At the bottom of their heart all Sri Lankans want to live in peace with one another. This is what the Tidal Wave taught us. What we saw is the people eager to help each other, forgetting all differences. Whatever community we belong to, there is something called Sri Lankan hospitality. The politicians should remember that when they get back to negotiations.
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An Undignified Postscript for Sri Lanka's Dead
In death, as in life, the gap between the rich and the poor is wide.
(LA Times) At the Colombo National Hospital, the bodies of foreigners are brought to a lab where they're numbered and photographed. Blood and DNA samples are taken. The bodies are carefully stored in refrigerated containers until they can be identified and transported back to their home countries. A different ritual unfolds 70 miles south in Galle. A truck designed to carry telephone poles pulls up on a dirt road and disgorges the bodies of Sri Lankans on land that was once a palm oil plantation. Several dozen decomposing bodies are dragged off the truck and dumped into a quarter-mile-long mass grave holding about 1,600 corpses. As rich countries work to identify their tsunami victims, the poor island nation uses mass graves. Full StoryFull Story

Full StoryMass graves: Rapid burial to avert health risks is a myth


They survived Tsunami, But their days are numbered
Most overlooked victims of devastating tsunami, increasingly desperate creatures existing without shelter and little food or even clean water
(LA Times) ULLE, Sri Lanka. They're dogs of all sizes, color and character, former pets that have been left without masters after the tsunami flooded this eastern Sri Lankan village, killing at least 1,000 of its 6,000 residents. For three weeks, hundreds of dogs have wandered through the rubble of Ulle in search of food, puddles from which to lap and often just a reassuring pat on the head. The animals are too timid to compete with humans for the food that arrives at refugee camps every day. Last weekend, Sri Lankan officials began planning a dog eradication program after one person in Ampara province, which includes Ulle, reportedly contracted rabies, presumably after being bitten by a dog.Full StoryFull Story


The most tragic lesson at a school in Sri Lanka, natures grim math

NAVALADI, Sri Lanka - Classes were supposed to start today after the end-of-the-year holiday at the Namahal Vidyalayam School in what used to be a fishing village on this sliver of sand between the Indian Ocean and a saltwater lagoon. But no class bell is going to ring. At least 150 of the school's 313 students are dead. Another 11 are missing. Full StoryFull Story


Why it killed some and not others
Faith Divides the Survivors and It Unites Them, Too
The tsunami reinforced a central Buddhist tenet: "If you think something will happen, it never will," he said. "If you think it never will happen, it will." A similar sense of the limits of man and the greatness of God informed the words of Nasir Mohammad in Hambantota. It is not for humans to explain why so many children died, but to accept it, he said. "God makes the world," "He can give, he can take. Sometimes he gives more. Sometimes he takes."
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Why us? Why here? Why now?
Countless Souls Cry Out to God
Caught up in the disaster, they had no time for religious ceremonies of any kind. In Sri Lanka, as in coastal southern India and along the beaches of Indonesia, there was only time to dig huge holes in the ground and shovel in the dead. Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists have lived together peacefully for centuries. "Let the dead be buried together. They died together in the sea. Let their souls get peace together."
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Dark forces behind tsunami disaster - Conspiracy theorists

Among the more common suggestions is that eco-weapons which can trigger earthquakes and volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves were being tested. More outlandish theories include one that aliens caused the earthquake to try and correct the "wobbly rotation of the Earth". Full StoryFull Story


Tidal waves of generosity hit the world
Who is more Generous?
$1 billion - USA, #300 million - UK, Euro 300 Million - Germany

Donations in absolute terms, showing that Norwegians donated the most per head of population ($13.20) followed by the Swedes ($12.04), the Dutch ($9.16) the Australians ($5.23) and so on, down to the Americans with a donation of $1.08 per head, and the French, whose per head donation amounted to 80 US cents. The Observer table places Saudi Arabs in the middle of the pack, at No. 6 with a donation of $4 per head, but still outranking Canadians, Austrians, Brits, Greeks, Americans and French in their generosity. Full StoryFull Story


Grieving parents wait for ocean to return children

NAVALADY BEACH, Sri Lanka -- As dawn breaks over Sri Lanka's coast, dozens of parents come to the beach where huge waves seized their children a week ago.  "They believe their kids are alive and the sea will return them -- one day," UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy said Sunday after touring this island country's tsunami-devastated shore. Children accounted for a staggering 40 per cent, or 12,000, of Sri Lanka's death total of 30,000, officials said. But without bodies to mourn over, many parents find it hard to believe their children are dead. Some children were buried in mass graves, before parents were told. Many were swept out to sea.Full StoryFull story

Samaritan Children's Home in Navalady

TRAGEDY AVERTED: 28 orphans saved

Navalady, Sri Lanka -- Two hundred yards away from the beach, in the orphanage he had built, Dayalan Sanders lounged in his bed early Sunday morning. He was thinking, he said, about the sermon he was due to deliver in the chapel in half an hour. A few yards away, most of the 28 children under his care were still in their rooms, getting ready for services.

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Tsunami swallows nursery school, children
KARAITIVU, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Bob Uppington, a retired teacher from England, came to this tiny Sri Lankan tsunami-ravaged fishing village to find 40 children. But visiting a local nursery school and a refugee camp on Sunday, a week after giant waves hit, he found no faces to match the snapshots of the three- to four-year-olds he had visited less than a fortnight before Sri Lanka's worst natural disaster hit. Full StoryFull Story

Yala National Park: 250 believed to have died

Tidal waves has caused severe damage to Yala National Park with more than 250 foreign and local tourists believed to have died. "Yala Safari" tourist hotel in close proximity to the main gate of Yala National Park has been completely destroyed . At the time of the incident about 250 foreign and local tourists had been occupying the hotel. About 100 dead bodies of tourists were discovered within the park yesterday (27) by Wildlife Officers and Army Officers and about 60 of them are foreigners.Full Story Full Story

Former Chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl survives tsunami, stays to help Sri Lankans

 HAMBURG 3 Jan- After surviving Asia's killer tsunami in Sri Lanka, Helmut Kohl, 74, the former German chancellor, has vowed to stay on in Sri Lanka to help organise relief for children and to demonstrate that the country needed tourist earnings. Full StoryFull Story

Panadura: Another body, another wail

The path to several thousand private hells is all too public. In this small town 20 miles south of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, it leads down the open-sided corridors of the district hospital to a garden at the back, and the mortuary beyond. "We have received 44 bodies here so far, 23 women, 16 men, and five children," said Sub-Inspector DJ Karanaike. "Thirty-five have been identified already."Full StoryFull Story

Kinniya island: Survivors stunned in the devastation

At least 580 of Kinniya's 80,000 residents were killed or have disappeared; about 5,000 homes were destroyed or damaged; more than 30,000 people are without shelter, according to the local emergency unit. Some 2,500 people were injured in the disaster. "They are mainly superficial injuries but they can become infected, there are complications, sudden fevers, and we have the first cases of acute gastroenteritis. We expect an outbreak of diarrhea," said a 32-year-old doctor named Ajeedh. Full Storyfull story

Galle is now a city of death and tears

Galle, a tourist city some 100 km south of Colombo, is one of the places  hit most by the tsunami. Over 800 people died and more than 500 injured in the tsunamis here, according to local police officials. Around 2,500 people are still missing in Galle district. "My wife and my sons were whirled away by the floods," said D.G. Lal crying loudly. He added many vehicles near the sea were washed away "like leaves," and one of them "with 17 people on it disappeared in no time." A 24-year-old man working for a local hotel pointed to a seaside marsh and said some bodies were still buried inside the marsh. He said it's too dangerous to go inside to recover the bodies. Full StoryFull Story

Ampara most devastated with possible 25000 deaths

Ampara district on the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka was directly in the path of the December 26 tsunami and was the first to be hit. Massive waves swept over the low-lying coast without warning, flattening buildings and sweeping people away. It was a fresh calamity in a district that has already been deeply scarred by 20 years of civil war. While the government puts the death toll at 13,703, the actual figure is probably twice as high. Those we spoke to, including several divisional secretaries, estimated the number killed at nearly 25,000, with more than 2,500 still missing. Full StoryFull Story

Buddha statues in South spared by Tsunami

"Its a miracle"  residents
(The Island) The Ministry of Buddha Sasana said that 39 Buddhist temples were destroyed by last Sundays Tsunami tidal waves in Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts, but miraculously none of the statues of Lord Buddha had been damaged or swept into the ocean.
The ministry said there were no reports of any Buddhist monks in these temples being killed or injured by the monstrous waves. The damage to these Buddhist temples is estimated to be around Rs. 36 millions and the ministry has already allocated Rs. 4.5 million for their restoration, a spokesman said.
@Photograph: Elizabeth Dalziel/AP)

Killer  waves swept her three boys and three girls

I wish that my husband and I would die soon.

PALLAI, Sri Lanka - Housewife Viyarseeli Nadarajahlingams whole life revolved around her six children and helping her husband mend his fishing nets on an idyllic white sand beach at Sri Lankas northern tip. But she could only watch helplessly in horror as giant waves swept her three boys and three girlsthe youngest just a year old and the eldest 13 -- to their deaths, and she is struggling to give new meaning to her life. Young men have lost new brides, mothers have lost babies, whole families have been destroyed - and most survivors vow they will never return to live by the sea. Full StoryFull Story

Full Story"I used to call them you my little ones. Now I have no one!"

Camps washed away:  Military personnel, Sea Tigers Killed.
Brigade Commander and 18 soldiers were reported dead at Kalkudah.
Dec 28, Colombo. A Colonel, one Major, one Lieutenant, one Navy Lieutenant and two Warrant Officers (WO II) of the Army and Navy were among the 60 Army and Navy personnel now confirmed killed.
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Full StoryList of Army Personnel Killed

Sri Lankan tsunami victims Express anger and concern

The poorest of the poor most affected

With more dead bodies being discovered in the southern, eastern and northern coastal areas of Sri Lanka, the authorities admitted on Tuesday that the death toll from last Sundays tsunami could rise to 25,000. A Reuters report quoted social welfare minister, Sumedha Jayasena, declaring, Dead bodies are washing ashore along the coast. Reports reaching us from the rescue workers indicate there are 25,000 feared dead. We dont know what to do. But many people simply do not believe the government estimates.Full StoryFull Story



One psychiatrist for 1.3 million of the world's most traumatized people

A new wave of pain in Lanka

Even before the tidal wave, Sri Lankans were one of the world's most suicide-prone populations, with paranoid schizophrenics, manic-depressives, rape victims and thousands of torture victims from the civil war.  Now add to that the families of more than 30,000 tsunami fatalities in the region. Tens of thousands of homeless, jobless, destitute refugees. Orphans in the hundreds.  Full StoryFull Story


world's worst rail accident - Sri Lanka's Ground Zero

The Samudra Devi 's fate qualifies as the world's worst rail accident, outstripping the death toll of around 800 who died when a cyclone blew a train off a bridge into the Bagmati river in Bihar, India, in 1981. Eight rust-colored cars lay in deep pools of water amid a ravaged grove of palm trees. The force of the waves had torn the wheels off some cars, and the train tracks twisted like a loop on a roller coaster. The exact number of passengers who were on the train is unclear. Police believed there were 1,700. This was based, they said, on Colombo Fort station's record of 1,500 ticket sales for Galle, plus an estimated 200 who, as usual, get on the train at various stops without tickets. Full StoryFull Story

Sri Lankans who lost all discover shelter at school

(Panadura) Life here can be measured in announcements, made over the school's public address system every five minutes by D.B. Gerald Fernando, 63, a retired government worker. In a monotone, he tells people what to do. For the barber, go to one end of campus, starting at 12:15 p.m. For clean water, go to the other end. Pregnant women should line up for water thermoses at 1:30 p.m. and sheets at 4:30 p.m. Lights should be out by 9:30 p.m. All day long, Fernando calls out the most important piece of advice he knows: "Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands." So far, there have been no cases of diarrhea here, no scabies, no chickenpox. The medical staff tries to be vigilant. The school principal, A.D. Karunarathna, treats the refugees like new students, registering each person and making a file. Full StoryFull Story


Saving Sri Lanka's sea turtles
Rare green turtles gone with the waves, Hatchery destroyed
BENTOTA, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- The tsunami ended so many human lives, the environmental impact has taken second place.n Sri Lanka, though, there are fears entire species can be wiped out. At particular risk are sea turtles. Amid the rubble lies the remains of one of the world's last hopes for five endangered species of marine turtle. The waves killed thousands of baby turtles that were to have been released into the sea the very day the tsunami struck.
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Hambantota - Most remote,  Poorest, Hardest hit

Sri Lankas Hambantota district in the south of the island is one of the areas worst affected by the tsunami that hit on December 26. While the current official death toll claims 4,500 were killed when giant tidal waves washed over the low-lying coastal strip, survivors claim that this figure is a gross underestimate and that no one will ever know the real number of lives lost.  Two thousand three hundred and fifty seven dead bodies have already been discovered. There are 23,781 displaced persons in 32 refugee camps. As a result of this disaster 4,047 houses, 76 public institutions, 1,087 commercial buildings and 411 vehicles have been destroyed. 1050 boats in Hambantota district had been destroyed due to tsunami tidal waves.

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Full StoryTsunami swallows most of Hambantota


The seven tsunamis that hit the isle of Lanka
Tsunamis have been more frequent events in the history Sri Lanka than many of us have ever thought. Information about at least seven different incidents related to earthquakes and tsunamis can be gathered by carefully scrutinising different sources of history.
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Full StoryThe Lost Continent of Lemuria




Tsunami... Who?

Tsunami is a Japanese word that can be translated as "harbor wave". A tsunami is a wave train (series of waves) generated in water by  impulsive disturbance. Apart from impact of meteorites, other physical processes that can generate tsunami are earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, or even explosions. In other words, a tsunami can be generated by any disturbance that displaces a large water mass from its equilibrium position. Tsunami can savagely cover coastlines, causing devastating damages.

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Full StoryWhat is an Earthquake?

Madona's Dream

Madona is 13 and has a smile that lights her face. Madona would like to go  some where else, to a place where she would have more room, where we could sleep without being piled on top of each other -- somewhere cleaner, too, because here theres no water and she must walk a long way outside the camp in order to wash herself. Above all, shed like to return to school, like before Someday shed like to be a doctor. I ask her why shes chosen this profession: Because there are lots of people helping us. Id like one day to be able to help the poor, too.Full StoryFull Story

Play therapy for orphans and refugee children

I have not slept through the night since I returned from Sri Lanka five days ago. It is the eyes that haunt me; the eyes of the father whose daughter was ripped out of his arms, the eyes of the grandmother who saw her children and grandchildren swept away. A generation lost in a heartbeat. I see shock on the faces of the survivors, and am reminded yet again of how everything can change in an instant. Whether it is an earthquake, a Tsunami, a tornado, or planes hitting towers, life is so fragile. Everything can be gone in the blink of an eye; we are so little, nature and war are so big. Full StoryFull Story

Mother, Mother... Where are you.......
(DM) Fourteen-year-old Amila Sampath, an orphan at the tsunami relief centre at Koholankala, Hambantota related his heart-rending story. "On the morning of that fateful day (December 26), our mother gave my younger sister and two younger brothers and myself, rice for breakfast and requesting us to attend Sunday school, she went to the Sunday fair to sell vegetables", he said. This had been the routine every Sunday, but on that particular day it was to be different. "We received the news of the tsunami sometime later. Till evening we awaited our mother's return. She never came back. A-year-ago our father died at sea . We still expect our mother to come back soon" he said. With Amila Sampath are his brothers Anuruddha Sanjeewa and Anushan Sandu and sister Anukala Sarihani alongwith their grandmother Nikilapillai Selvanayam. Amila Sampath said "ever since our father died at sea, our mother earned money by selling goods at the Sunday fair, to send me and my two brother to school. Our sister is still at pre school", he said, adding that their uncles helped them in various ways.

The promises per person
Private donations made to the tsunami appeal in the first 15 days. In # per head of population.
Norway #7.06
Sweden #6.44
Netherlands #4.90
Australia #2.80
Germany #2.77
Saudi Arabia #2.14
Canada #1.99
Austria #1.67
Britain #1.65
Greece #1.11
United States 58p
France 43p
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Reporting Live From Hell

In an interview by satellite phone from Sri Lanka late last week, Mr. Rather spoke of what he described as his contradictory emotions: "It's very difficult, perhaps impossible, from the outside to understand the conflicting undertows that go through you as a journalist," Mr. Rather said. Full StoryFull Story

3 Families Fight to Rebuild Their Lives

Mr. Karunamuni, 52, is blind, which makes his survival of the Dec. 26 tsunami all the more remarkable. A cousin saw him walking toward the massing sea, shouted at him to stop, then dragged him up two flights of stairs to safety. Muhammad Zain's home sat feet from the sea in a housing scheme in Hambantota, a town on the southern coast. Where 300 houses once stood, perhaps 10 are left. The rest were broken to bits by the tsunami. Full StoryFull Story

Doctors challenge: Treating Broken Hearts & Healing a nation

As unforgiving as the tsunami was, the wave of despair that has followed is just as relentless. Doctors have come from around the world, ready to deliver medicine and to mend broken bones. But how do you heal a nation filled with patients who have lost spouses, children, homes, an entire way of life? That is the challenge doctors are facing.Full StoryFull Story

Waves of Despair after Waves of destruction

Fourteen-year-old Keri from Kalmunai wakes up in the night from nightmares of the tsunami. ''I see the waves coming at me, I see the people screaming," explained Keri, who saw people  including his mother -- being swept away. Fear has infected adults and children alike. Weeks after the killer waves struck, few remain in the disaster sites after dark. People talk of hearing screaming voices among the rubble. Full StoryFull Story

Salomia, 3, of Kalmunai, Sri Lanka, lost both parents in the Asian tsunami. Such children are at high risk for mental disorders like depression.

@Arko Datta/Reuters

Kids show resilience in tsunami aftermath
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star" is one of Rangika De Silva's favorite English songs. So when the 5-year-old, whose favorite food is mangoes, sang it perfectly amid the heavy rubble of her former oceanfront home, applause was spontaneous.
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Tsunami Aftermath: Toy story

We'd heard awful things about Komari, that it was ignored, impoverished, and off the radar of the relief agencies. As we approach, we begin to suspect otherwise. The tents are spacious and set well apart, there are decent roads into the compound, and the view of the river is spectacular. As we drive in, we see about 100 kids sitting quietly under an open-air tent, watching "The Lion King" on a television. Full StoryFull Story

What's happening to the 'tsunami orphans'?

While adoption agencies in the US and Europe are getting many calls from sympathetic families, UNICEF officials here in Sri Lanka say that orphans in these extreme cases are, in general, better off being raised by relatives or members of the local community. This is especially true, they say, for children above age 3 or 4 who are cognizant of the disaster that took their parents.Full StoryFull Story

Photo journal: Tsunami family goes home

The Kanaharathnam family has been crammed with 2,300 others into a displaced people's centre in Kallady-Dutch Bar since the disaster. Rajan, 30, a fisherman, lost his parents, parents-in-law and daughter among many family members swept to their deaths on 26 December. Full StoryFull Story



Rebuilding the hearts and minds

Sriyawathi Malani Gunathilaka has been strong her entire life, struggling on a tiny income to drag her family onto the lowest rungs of Sri Lanka's middle class, keeping her children in school, taking on more responsibility after her husband was weakened by a stroke two years ago.

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Surrey mother dies after saving daughter

(The Independent) A mother who traveled to Sri Lanka to open an orphanage died in the tsunami after saving her daughter's life.  June Abeyratne, 48, from Kingswood, Surrey, had travelled to the island's south coast with her Sri Lankan husband Viraj, 42, and their 11-year-old daughter, Alexandra.

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The sea took everything: The man who  lost his wife and more than 100 relatives

Sinnathamby Ponniah's family have lived in the southern Sri Lankan village of Alliyawalai for 15 generations. "The sea snatched everything," the former fisherman now living in Britain said yesterday as he explained how more than 100 of his relatives, including his wife, Nagalauxmy, 32, and two daughters, Yasintha, 13, and Yasotha, 11, were lost in the tsunami. From the village's population of 17,000, some 3,000 are confirmed dead. Another 2,500 are still missing, with little hope they will be found. Full StoryFull Story


Sandra Bullock donates $1 million to tsunami relief

NEW YORK - Actress Sandra Bullock has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to help relief efforts. Bullock, whose screen credits include "Miss Congeniality," "While You Were Sleeping" and "Speed," contacted the American Red Cross last week, the organization said Monday. She also donated $1 million after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.


OSU Professor, Wife Killed by Tsunami

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio State University professor and his wife were reportedly among those who died after a tsunami crashed into the coast of Sri Lanka, NBC 4's Holly Hollingsworth reported.
Professor Muttaiya Sundaralingam, known by his Ohio State colleagues simply as Sunda, was vacationing with his wife, Indrani, in Sri Lanka.

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Where are all the dead animals? Sri Lanka asks
COLOMBO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan wildlife officials are stunned -- the worst tsunami in memory has killed around 22,000 people, but they can't find any dead animals. Giant waves washed floodwaters up to 3 km (2 miles) inland at Yala National Park  Sri Lanka's biggest wildlife reserve and home to hundreds of wild elephants and several leopards. "The strange thing is we haven't recorded any dead animals," H.D. Ratnayake, deputy director of the national Wildlife Department, told Reuters on Wednesday.  "No elephants are dead, not even a dead hare or rabbit," he added. "I think animals can sense disaster. They have a sixth sense. They know when things are happening."  Full StoryFull Story


 Matara Hard Hit
Dec 26, Matara: Hundreds of people were at the weekly Sunday fair when massive waves came in and washed away people. The huge waves also swept away a high security prison in Matara, in southern Sri Lanka, allowing 200 prisoners to escape. Matara, Polhena, Madiha, Matara Fort, Mirissa were the most damaged in the Matara district, with vehicles washed away. The Matara bound train from Colombo Fort had to be stopped at Hikkaduwa as the railway tracks were also underwater or damaged.
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AMBALANGODA: Distance from beach sealed fates

Tsunami disaster dealt sharply different fates to those along the coasts, depending on how far they lived from the shore. This town was a case in point. On one side of a beach road, houses were smashed to their foundations. Shattered boats littered the beach. Fishing nets tangled the upper fronds of palm trees. Lives lay in tragedy and destitution. But across the street and up a knoll, neighbors hardly have seen their lives disrupted. Their homes did not even get flooded.

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The Tigers main naval base at Mullaittivu was devastated, as was part of its fleet. Bodies littered the ground like an upturned graveyard and the overpowering stench of death wafted over the area. Children accounted for the bulk of victims in nearby fishing villages. All 135 children at an orphanage run by female Tigers were swept away to their deaths

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Beruwela Nearly 150 boats, each amounting between Rs. 400,000 and 700,000 were totally destroyed at the Fisheries Harbour, Beruwela. The damage to Riverina Hotel, Eden Garden , Confifi Hotel and Palm Hotel all four coming under the wing of the Confifi Group, was serious, the disaster did not claim any lives Full StoryFull Report


DEHIWALA, Sri Lanka Disaster crept up on them deceptively, the villagers said, and then pounced. No one died in Dehiwala, a village just south of the capital, Colombo, but hundreds have been left homeless, including 600 people who are taking refuge on the brightly lit grounds of a Buddhist temple.Full StoryFull Report


Batticaloa The estimated total of recovered bodies in Batticaoloa is 1,901.Vaharai in Batticoaloa and Pottuvil and Panama in Ampara are inaccessible as the four bridges Thampadda, Komari, Urami and Arugambay have been destroyed

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Earthquake and Tsunami - Scientific Background: (Dec 26, Columbia University) While earthquakes could not be predicted in advance, once the earthquake was detected it would have been possible to give about 3 hours of notice of a potential Tsunami. Such a system of warnings is in place across the Pacific Ocean. However, there was no warning system in the Indian Ocean.Full Storyfull story



Tsunami News Items:
Conspiracy theorists see dark forces behind tsunami disaster
World Vision Builds Shelters on Tsunami-ravaged Coastline of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka bans adoption amid child snatching reports
Which way to Canada? asks S.Lanka tsunami survivor
Half of Lanka Tsunami Dead were Muslims
Too much Trauma - Children walked into the sea to die
Liverpool to twin with Galle
Sri Lanka coral reefs 'survive tsunami'
Vanishing Aid: 55 Million rupees and 3 vehicles missing
995 children lost both parents
Prins Charles refuses to meet Tigers leaders
Why Sri Lanka is special to me - Shane Warne
Mountains of unusable aid
$10 million with love from Iran
Scientists find tsunami produced 90-foot wave
Tsunami leaves Sri Lankas children bereft
Hope in the camps
Sri Lanka's tsunami survivors too busy for tributes
Rusted train tragic reminder of Sri Lanka tsunami toll
Sri Lanka's beach boys wait for tourists to return
Tsunami victims now Tiger soldiers
Tsunami spares secret U.S. base
For Sri Lanka's orphans, the heart-wrenching road to recovery begins
Multiple tragedy after tsunami scars life of Sri Lankan teenager
Company offers free tsunami alert system
Concern over possible wave of suicide bids
Sri Lanka's proven toughness faces daunting test
Relatives in USA mourn family at home in Sri Lanka
Body Burners Scour Sri Lanka's Tsunami Wasteland
Veteran British journalist Robert Whymant among Sri Lanka dead
History of tsunamis in Sri Lanka
Tsunami appeal fastest in Britain's history - donated up to one million pounds an hour
Sri Lanka tsunami aid becomes geopolitical game
UK victims of Asian tsunami
Countless Souls Cry Out to God - Why us? Why here? Why now?
Tsunami did not wreck our navy: LTTE
In Sri Lanka, aid workers combat wild rumors and lingering fear
A Lankan tourism resort waning after tsunami
Man arrested in UK tsunami death email probe
Bush vows more U.S. aid for victims of tsunami
'I said my goodbyes underwater'
Tamil Tigers call for international help
Tsunami tragedy: Your e-mails
Rich and famous alike caught up in Asia's tsunami terror
A believe-it-or-not story from Sri Lanka
Shopping mania saved Indians in Lanka
Tsunami orphan, 17-year-old girl, gang-raped in Sri Lanka
Mystery of Missing Prabhakaran: Where is he?
A boy named Tsunami
Where are all the dead animals? Sri Lanka asks


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