Public Eye

Asian Tsunami Imagery - Kalutara, Sri Lanka

The imagery below was taken by the DigitalGlobe Quickbird satellite. It shows a portion of the Southwest coast of Sri Lanka, and was taken on Sunday Dec. 26, 2004, at 10:20am local time, slightly less than four hours after the 6:28 a.m. (local Sri Lanka time) earthquake and shortly after the moment of tsunami impact.

Due to the aftermath of lethal tsunamis the Government of Sri Lanka declared a state of national disaster. In Sri Lanka, many hotels along the southern and eastern coastal areas were damaged and are not operating normally. Tourists in coastal areas have been evacuated to hotels in Colombo.

Kalutara is a resort town located approximately 40km south of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital. Kalutara is semi-urban and has a mixture of literates and illiterates in the population.

Once an important spice-trading center, the city's name is derived from the Kalu Gang River (Black River). In the 11th Century, the town was made temporarily made a capital on the orders of a South Indian Prince. The region was later planted with coconut trees, whose by-products are used for both internal and external trade. The location also boast fortifications dating back from the times when Portuguese, Dutch and British vied for control of the area.

The 38-meter long Kalutara Bridge was built at the mouth of the Kalu Gang River and serves as a major link between the country's Western and Southern border. At the southern end of the bridge lies the 3 stories-high Kalutara Vihara, a Buddhist temple built in the 1960s which holds the distinction of being the only shrine in the world that is hollow.

Travel medicine Internet sites describe in their advice to travellers to Sri Lanka merely that the risk of malaria is present all year round in all areas (below 800 m altitude), except in the districts of Colombo, Kalutara, and Nuwara Eliya, and sometimes unrealistic maps are posted. On average, 370,000 tourists visit Sri Lanka annually, of whom the majority (63%) is of European origin. Roughly 14% of tourist hotel nights booked by foreigners in 2001 was in areas with a risk of malaria (API > 1 case/1000 population).

In addition to serving as a tourist resort town, the town is also renowned for its mangosteen fruits.

As of Dec 28, 2004, official statitics compiled by the Sri Lankan Government tabulated 35 deaths and approximately 3,000 displaced in the Kalutara area. According to some reports, among the dead at Kalutara were 2 foreigners.


Asian Tsunami

Asian Tsunami Animations

Asian Tsunami Maps

Asian Tsunami Imagery

Tsunami Background

Tsunami Background Imagery

Tsunami References

  • © 2003 Briët et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original URL. The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.malariajournal.com/content/2/1/22

Click on the small image to view a larger version


Map showing location of Kalutara in Sri Lanka.

Population Density Map of Sri Lanka.

Imagery overview of the immediate aftermath of the tsunami and receding waves on the Southwestern Coast of Sri Lanka.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)

Imagery overview of the immediate aftermath of the tsunami and receding waves on the Southwestern Coast of Sri Lanka.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)

Comparative imagery overview of Kalutara area pre- and post-tsunami on the Southwestern Coast of Sri Lanka.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)

Close-up of waves following the immediate aftermath of the tsunami on a portion of the Southwestern Coast of Sri Lanka.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)

Additional close-up of waves following the immediate aftermath of the tsunami on a portion of the Southwestern Coast of Sri Lanka.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)

This imagery of waves following the tsunami has been reported by some to resemble the spelling out of the name 'Allah' in Arabic.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)

Comparative imagery overview of Kalutara coastal area pre- and post-tsunami.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)

DigitalGlobe imagery showing beach and tourist resort near Kalutara, along the Southwest coast of Sri Lanka. The image was taken January 1, 2004.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)

Dec. 26, 2004 DigitalGlobe imagery showing the immediate aftermath of the tsunami on a portion of the Southwestern Coast of Sri Lanka, near Kalutara.
(Image source: DigitalGlobe)



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