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A Sri Lankan man sits on what was left of his home following the 2004 tsunami

Caritas puts tsunami response in the spotlight reporter, Galle
Sri Lanka

October 28 2010

A new book published by Caritas Galle documents five years of the Church’s response to the devastating 2004 tsunami which struck the southern coast of Sri Lanka killing 35,000 people.

The book named Beacon of Hope describes the impact of the tsunami on the ancient port city of Galle.

One million people in 13 out of 14 coastal districts were affected by the tragedy, which claimed 35,322 human lives, injured 21,441, left 1,500 children without parents and destroyed 98,525 houses.

The aim of the book is to enable future generations to understand what happened and how people responded, said Caritas Galle director Father Damian Araskularatne.

The book also documents the work of Caritas Galle in bringing immediate first aid to the stricken, including the erection of temporary houses, sheds and kitchens. Later the organization also built over 1400 houses and repaired another 800.

Bishop Harold Anthony Perera, who was then the newly appointed bishop of Galle diocese, guided the relief work in the region in the wake of the tsunami.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and other political, civil and religious leaders all contributed messages for the book.

A day after Christmas in 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake off the coast of Aceh, Indonesia,  triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed more than a quarter of a million people in 13 countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

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