The Tsunami: five years later
Five years ago, my husband and I were in Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit. A last minute change in our itinerary literally saved our lives. On December 26, 2004, my husband and I had originally planned be at a small lodge in Yala National Park on the southern coast of the country. We later learned that there had been no survivors at this particular hotel.
The new itinerary put us in Kandi, located in the middle of the country, when the tsunami hit. While the strength of the earthquake at 7 am roused us from our room in an old colonial hotel, none of the staff- when questioned – seemed bothered by the tremor. And so we didn’t think more of it until we arrived in Colombo later that day and heard news of the devastation unfolding around the country.
Our current destination, Krabi, was also hard hit by the tsunami, and evidence of the disaster can still be seen: locals have left remnants of some boats intact and created monuments to those who perished. The government has put in place a much needed tsunami warning system, as well as clearly marked escape routes, on the beaches. Five thousand people perished in this area on that day and over 300 bodies remain unclaimed.
On December 26, 2009, we avoided visiting the area’s archipelago, which defines the word “paradise”. It’s not that we are afraid; we believe that the tsunami that killed close to 300,000 people was a once in a lifetime event. Rather, five years later, it still seemed a bit too raw.