Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “pareliya”

Sri Lanka – Memories of a Tsunami Survivor and photographs of Then and Now. Hotel Citrus Hikkaduwa


One of the more interesting characters I met in Sri Lanka was the man who looked after the poolside and his main role was to give out beach towels and beds to those who asked him. A highly intelligent man who kept and read many of the magazines left behind by the hotel guests. He was pleasant and helpful as are most Sri Lankans. He told me one day his Tsunami story. He was on duty that day and heard the eerie silence that preceded the Tsunami. He saw the waves coming and ran, so was luckier than most, and ran around 2 kilometres to collect his wife and family and then went up in the mountains, where he stayed for 6 days. No one knew what was happening, there was very little in the way of effective communications there and his memory when they came down from the mountain was dead bodies floating in the sea, lots of dead bodies.  In any other country this guy could do most jobs, but here he is doing a job way below his intellectual capacity.

The before and after photos are from the Tsunami museum at Telewatta and the ones I took, so approximately 10 years apart but the differences are eerily small.

IMG_0057IMG_9673c IMG_0058 IMG_9673cIMG_0059  IMG_0062 IMG_0063 IMG_0064 IMG_0069 IMG_0071 IMG_0077  IMG_0080 IMG_0085

Tsunami Photo Museum Telewatta Sri Lanka


On Dec 26th in 2004 the Tsunami hit different Asian countries including Sri Lanka. Very many lives were lost, at least 40,000 and because records are not so excellent there numbers may well be higher. Sri Lanka in fact was the second worst country that was hit. Since then the country had had a resurgence with a second international airport recently completed in the south and the start of a motorway system embedded in the country, meaning what was previously a 5 hour trip from Colombo Airport to the south is far nearer two hours now.

What however many people remain unaware of is that there is a museum devoted to the Tsunami. From the outside it does not look like a museum, in fact it looks remarkably like a ramshackle house that was hit by the Tsunami in the Pareliya area just back from the coast. This is exactly what it is, a house ruined that has been left essentially damaged but turned into a small museum that houses photographs, paintings and stories of how local people built up their lives from scratch. There is free entry and one can leave donations in a small box.

The aim of the museum is to keep the stories alive for future generations and show people what actually happened.

When I visited in August 2014 it has to be one of the most emotional places I can recall visiting.

The museum is almost opposite the National Tsunami Monument near Pareliya junction ( where around 2000 people on a train lost their lives that morning), and is on the main road traveling north out of Hikkaduwa around 4 km or 9 km south of ambalangoda.

Their website is

tsunami-photo-museum-srilanka.blogspot.com

Further information can be got on info@kunstkoffer.nl

Below are a selection of photos I took of the photos in the museum, I challenge anyone not to find these things quite emotional.

photo 1-1    photo 2-2 photo 2  photo 3-2 photo 3 photo 4-1 photo 4-2  photo 5-1 photo 5-2

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