The Tsunami, 26 December 2004
On 26 December 2004, Sri Lanka (together with other Indian Ocean countries) was hit by a tsunami caused by a sub-sea earthquake registering 9.2 on the Richter scale. Kosgoda, a fishing community on the coast, was devastated by a six metre wave which surged some 1.5km inland. Many died in the disaster, homes and property were destroyed and many displaced. Dudley and his family were fortunate to escape with their lives. Their home and the KSTCP however were gone; as were some 200 Hawksbill turtles which had been in Dudley's care at the time. There were fears that the destruction of the sea turtle nesting grounds would have a permanent effect on turtle populations.
The KSTCP's hatchery facility has been lovingly rebuilt. Since reopening the project in March 2005, the work of the volunteers is also focused on rehabilitating the devastated beaches to attract sea turtles again. This is done through planting Pandanus Trees and beach clearance, ensuring a safe and clean environment for turtles.
Volunteers were also involved in tsunami relief/community development work. This includes working with the local community to help rebuild their homes and lives and ranges from clearing rubble to teaching children in the local temporary housing camp. Their work continues today in the new community centre.
Together with local people and tourists, sea turtles have fortunately returned to the beaches of Sri Lanka and Kosgoda remains one of the most important sea turtle nesting sites in the country. With our help, sea turtles will continue to return to Kosgoda time and time again and we can ensure the survival of these magnificent creatures.
And how it was rebuilt...