Mr. Zaroon (left), Dr. Terence Amerasinge (standing), and myself were the members of this fact-finding mission.
At the main Buddhist Temple "by the Lake" in Colombo, I had already seen this collection of sleeping mats that were part of the Temple's tsunami relief efforts.
We began to see rubble along the sides of the road for the entire trip. Much of this was likely plowed off the coast road after the disaster in order to make the road passable again. Electric poles, knocked down by the tsunami, also and been replaced and electricity restored to those who still had homes or businesses remaining.
Everything people had owned, their personal clothing, documents, valuables, household items, was strewn everywhere in the mud and wreckage.
There was total destruction in many places on both sides of the coast road.
Even houses like that one that were left standing had been filled with salt water and most of their interior contents ruined.
Everywhere, people who survived were now living in tents at the locations where their homes used to be.
People were often sorting through the rubble where their homes once were looking for remnants of their former lives that were lost.
The sea in the background, calm and beautiful, in the face of all this human anguish.
Three weeks after the tsunami destroyed coastlines in eleven countries bordering the Indian Ocean, I was in Sri Lanka. The capital city, Colombo, was not seriously affected. We rented this van on behalf of the Universal Love and Brotherhood Association (ULBA) of Sri Lanka for a fact-finding mission to formulate a plan of response to the disaster. To the left is our van with its ULBA banner on the side. We drove along the coast road to the south toward Galle. The farther south we went, the greater the disaster. That day, we traveled all the way to Galle and back to Colombo, taking many photos and talking with survivors.
The coastline is beautiful and ordinarily tranquil as in this photo I took on the way.
Along the way there were many relief organizations at work.
Many entire houses like this one were just ripped apart.
This train had been lifted off the tracks by the tsunami and many passengers died. Here it had been put back onto the tracts. People's personal effects are everywhere in the mud.
A close up of the same train.
Some tents held relief workers, others families that were made homeless by the tsunami.
The plan of response being developed by the Universal Love and Brotherhood Association of Sri Lanka is a long term response. The temporary relief aid seen in these photos will have to be replaced with new permanent homes, schools, facilities, and communities. Dr. Terence Amerasinghe, President of ULBA, Sri Lanka, is thinking in terms of an entire community constructed and sponsored by ULBA and the World Constitution and Parliament Association.
Amid the devastation in front of a calm sea.