When the Tsunami struck Galle
Priyantha was at the hotel on the dot. So were we; ready to leave at 8 am sharp. The Nissan looked comfortable but low rear seats made getting in and out a bit cumbersome. I decided to sit in front from where I could take some pictures without having to stop often.
The highway to Galle wasn't like any of our National Highways. Not too broad but well paved and hardly any potholes along the route. Traffic was thin being a Sunday and possibly one reason why there weren't any messy traffic jams. We are so used to chaos in our cities that it becomes a writing point for most writers and I'm no exception.
What made the drive interesting was that the highway ran alongside the coast. It was quite a sight to watch waves crash against those huge rocks that line up the sandy shores. This was one of the many coastlines rummaged by the Tsunami strike four years ago.
Galle, city of southern Sri Lanka on the Indian Ocean was devastated by the Tsunami caused by an earthquake that occurred a thousand miles away, off the coast of Indonesia. Thousands were killed in the city alone. Eyewitnesses say two tidal waves struck the town early in the morning. The force of the second wave was so strong it threw people and vehicles in its path.
The ruins all along the coast serve as stark reminders of the havoc. Fishing boats halved from the centre are now stacked heaps of lumber. What were once homes, schools and shops now stand as mere skeletons with roofs, doors and windows ripped apart by the mammoth tidal waves that lashed more than half of Sri Lanka's coastline and completely destroyed a train on the move with 1700 passengers killing hundreds.
The 24th of December, 2004 was the worst disaster in Galle's history with nearly 35,000 lives lost and thousands rendered homeless.
But life goes on. The last four years has seen the rebuilding of Galle though much more restoration is yet to be done, the city hasn't lost hope. It'll take more than a few Tsunamis to break the Galle spirit.