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.
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