© Still Waters Trust 2021 All Rights Reserved

Still Waters Trust

Caring for Vulnerable Children in Sri Lanka

Tsunami 2004 Disaster

The disaster struck on Boxing Day 2004

Still Waters raised significant funds to help families rebuild their homes and restore their livelihood. We provided fishing boats, nets and outboard motors to help fishermen get back to work. We built new homes. We donated computers, books and equipment to help schools with their training programmes. Still Waters became engaged in providing aid from the first day after the disaster on Boxing Day, Sunday, 26th December 2004. We used all the reserve funds we had to help with the immediate needs of the survivors. From the first days, it was evident that rebuilding and reconstruction work would be a long-term project and Still Waters was, and is, committed to support survivors in this task.

Homes and property completely destroyed

It is difficult to describe the extent of the damage to home and property. These pictures show a little of the

devastation caused by the Tsunami

One story from the many

During my time in Sri Lanka I visited Batticaloa on the Eastern coast which took the worst of the hit from the Tsunami.

The sight that awaited us as we entered the coastal areas is hard to describe. Street after street all along the coast was

a scene of complete devastation. It was hard to find a house that was still standing. The waves had gone deep inland

and turned thousands of homes to rubble. Every plot where once there was a proud home of a family had been raised

to the ground and remains still just as the Tsunami had left it after doing its destructive work. Amid the shattered ruins

were personal clothing, the odd cooking utensil, letters and papers, a photo album and what remains of many peoples’

homes.

And there were white flags everywhere, row after row of them, a piece of white cloth fastened to a piece of stick to

indicate the death of a person. Some plots had several flags telling the sad and painful truth of entire families who had

perished. On many a plot I met a lone individual or a couple standing or sitting in silence and staring at the sea. Their

eyes glazed with a deep sorrow giving glimpses of a sad and broken heart. It was not a time for talk. I stood in silence

with them as a sign of solidarity and whispered a prayer for healing of pain, easing of sorrow and the dawn of hope for

these unfortunate fellow human beings.

One of the people I was able to talk to was Lakshman (Lucky), who told me his story struggling to hold back the tears.

He and his family were all ready to go to church on Sunday 26th December. They were a few minutes late because his

21 month old daughter was not ready, and the Tsunami hit their home. The first wave entered the house with up to six

feet of water, and he gathered his wife, child and the rest of the family and tried to escape when the second wave over

thirty feet high engulfed his home and swept everyone and everything away. When the waters subsided, Lucky was

found alive over 1,000 meters away, but in a serious condition having swallowed too much sea water. He was rushed to

hospital where he remained for over ten days. His wife (27), his daughter (21 months), his mother (53) and his sisters

(13 and 18) were all dead. All but the body of his only baby daughter were recovered.

Lucky also lost his home, his two fishing boats, his minibus and his engineering workshop. Lucky was clutching the

dried out copy of his New Testament as he recalled that fateful Sunday, and wished he had left for church five minutes

earlier. We gathered around Lucky embraced him and prayed for him standing amid the ruins of what had been a home

he had worked so hard to build. Lucky needed to get back to purposeful employment and needed carpentry and

engineering tools, and we were able to get him a starter pack of tools the next day. I hope Lucky will get the emotional

and spiritual support he needs to overcome the trauma of the Tsunami and begin to rebuild his life.

It is nothing short of a miracle that our buildings survived undamaged, but the boundary fences and walls suffered

extensive damage when the huge tidal waves hit our land and brought with it many uprooted trees and considerable

debris. We walked and talked to many people, until the sun began to go down, and returned to the guest house with

heavy hearts.

V Frederick George MBE Director

Still Waters visit shortly

after the disaster

Boats grounded and swept

ashore

Trees uprooted

Buildings and schools

destroyed

Temporary classrooms set

up

Providing school packs for

each child

Help with re-housing poorer

families

© Still Waters Trust 2021 All Rights Reserved

Still Waters Trust

Caring for Vulnerable Children in Sri Lanka

Tsunami 2004 Disaster

The disaster struck on Boxing Day 2004

Still Waters raised significant funds to help families rebuild their homes and restore their livelihood. We provided fishing boats, nets and outboard motors to help fishermen get back to work. We built new homes. We donated computers, books and equipment to help schools with their training programmes. Still Waters became engaged in providing aid from the first day after the disaster on Boxing Day, Sunday, 26th December 2004. We used all the reserve funds we had to help with the immediate needs of the survivors. From the first days, it was evident that rebuilding and reconstruction work would be a long-term project and Still Waters was, and is, committed to support survivors in this task.

Homes and property completely destroyed

It is difficult to describe the extent of the damage to home and property.

These pictures show a little of the devastation caused by the Tsunami

One story from the many

During my time in Sri Lanka I visited Batticaloa on the Eastern coast which took

the worst of the hit from the Tsunami. The sight that awaited us as we entered

the coastal areas is hard to describe. Street after street all along the coast was a

scene of complete devastation. It was hard to find a house that was still standing.

The waves had gone deep inland and turned thousands of homes to rubble. Every

plot where once there was a proud home of a family had been raised to the

ground and remains still just as the Tsunami had left it after doing its destructive

work. Amid the shattered ruins were personal clothing, the odd cooking utensil,

letters and papers, a photo album and what remains of many peoples’ homes.

And there were white flags everywhere, row after row of them, a piece of white

cloth fastened to a piece of stick to indicate the death of a person. Some plots

had several flags telling the sad and painful truth of entire families who had

perished. On many a plot I met a lone individual or a couple standing or sitting in

silence and staring at the sea. Their eyes glazed with a deep sorrow giving

glimpses of a sad and broken heart. It was not a time for talk. I stood in silence

with them as a sign of solidarity and whispered a prayer for healing of pain,

easing of sorrow and the dawn of hope for these unfortunate fellow human

beings.

One of the people I was able to talk to was Lakshman (Lucky), who told me his

story struggling to hold back the tears. He and his family were all ready to go to

church on Sunday 26th December. They were a few minutes late because his 21

month old daughter was not ready, and the Tsunami hit their home. The first

wave entered the house with up to six feet of water, and he gathered his wife,

child and the rest of the family and tried to escape when the second wave over

thirty feet high engulfed his home and swept everyone and everything away.

When the waters subsided, Lucky was found alive over 1,000 meters away, but in

a serious condition having swallowed too much sea water. He was rushed to

hospital where he remained for over ten days. His wife (27), his daughter (21

months), his mother (53) and his sisters (13 and 18) were all dead. All but the

body of his only baby daughter were recovered.

Lucky also lost his home, his two fishing boats, his minibus and his engineering

workshop. Lucky was clutching the dried out copy of his New Testament as he

recalled that fateful Sunday, and wished he had left for church five minutes

earlier. We gathered around Lucky embraced him and prayed for him standing

amid the ruins of what had been a home he had worked so hard to build. Lucky

needed to get back to purposeful employment and needed carpentry and

engineering tools, and we were able to get him a starter pack of tools the next

day. I hope Lucky will get the emotional and spiritual support he needs to

overcome the trauma of the Tsunami and begin to rebuild his life.

It is nothing short of a miracle that our buildings survived undamaged, but the

boundary fences and walls suffered extensive damage when the huge tidal waves

hit our land and brought with it many uprooted trees and considerable debris. We

walked and talked to many people, until the sun began to go down, and returned

to the guest house with heavy hearts.

V Frederick George MBE Director