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Beruwela fishing, tourism industries severely hit
by Ifham Nizam
Wednesday December 29,
@ The Island
The Beruwela fishing industry claims it lost hundreds of thousands, in vessels and gear due to Sunday’s disaster. S. Vipula, a boat owner told The Island that nearly 150 boats, each amounting between Rs. 400,000 and 700,000 were totally destroyed at the Fisheries Harbour, Beruwela.

He said that though they witnessed only few deaths, it could be much more. “We are shocked, we don’t have any data yet, in fact we are in the process of going from house to house to find out who is missing.”

The 39 year-old, father of three, said he was at home, yards away from the harbour when the tidal wave struck.

Vipula added: “They never took any positive steps after the tide wave. The Coastal Guard even wrecked a rescue craft valued Rs. 120 million which had been kept for emergency purposes.”

Looting had begun in wake of the flood. Two boats had already been robbed of their engines, he said.

Roy Silva, a fisherman said he and his colleagues had been involved in rescue activities since the disaster. But the so called authorities had not offered them even a square meal..

Club Palm Garden, Food and Beverage Manager Anura Punchihewa said that though it was a natural disaster, it would definitely have a negative impact on the tourism industry.

He said that though 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.

The Island visited the interior of Palm Hotel where we witnessed that almost 80 rooms on the ground floor were badly damaged. The severely damaged bar, according to the Beverages Manager had a fortune invested in wines alone.

six-foot waves entered to the hotel premises, “seeing the unusual scene, I immediately requested everybody to come to the second floor,” he added.

At the time of the disaster, the hotel had 206 tourists of which 52 percent were Englishmen, 38 percent Germans and the rest were of other countries.

He also said that these hotels need at least another three to four months for renovation.

One of the security guards (P. Fernando of Trans Asia Security Services) had a narrow escape from the tidal waves.

He said that the tide almost took him, however he was quick enough to cling into a coconut tree to escape certain death.

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