The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami – referred to as the Boxing Day Tsunami due to its timing – was one of the most profound natural disasters to take place in recent memory. Caused due to a rupture along the fault between the Indian and Burmese plate, the Tsunami ravaged the coasts of a number of countries along the Indian Ocean – Sri Lanka was among them. In order to remind the public of the dangers of Tsunamis as well as to commemorate the lives lost due to this tragedy, the Community Tsunami Museum was established. As such, if you’re ever in Hikkaduwa, a visit to this museum can be an interesting – albeit sobering – experience.
First and foremost, the Tsunami Museum is concerned with educating its visitors about the science and mechanics behind a tsunami event. The logic here being that by understanding what causes these phenomena, the public will know how to act properly during an emergency event. As you begin the tour here, you’ll be provided with geological information and explanations detailing the origin of tsunamis. Following this, diagrams and information plaques mention what triggers a tsunami, how they are measured and the precautionary methods needed to be taken to deal with a disaster of this scale.
The next section of the tour provides an unfiltered look at the raw damage a natural disaster on this level can cause. Sri Lanka has made a remarkable recovery from the tsunami event. So much so, you might be surprised to see just how demolished areas like Hikkaduwa were in the immediate aftermath of the event. Photos captured of the surrounding area in the wake of the disaster can be found all along the museum’s hall. These should serve as a stark reminder of the destructive capability of nature but also the resiliency and unconquerable attitude of the Sri Lankan people.