History - Stella Homes
 

Tsunami and Civil War: two events that brought Sri Lanka to a standstill

The Tsunami - December 26th, 2004

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 At 00.58 UTC on December 26th, 2004 the fourth most violent earthquake in the history of seismology (magnitude 9.5) with an epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, caused the shifting of the Myanmar plate which overlapped with the Indian plate.

This rupture caused long narrow parts of the sea floor to pop up in seconds elevating to the height of 10 meters. These movements triggered the infamous waves which spread in all directions across the Indian ocean from the earthquake’s epicenter and hit the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bnagladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Seychelles, Somalia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania at the speed of 800km/h and reaching heights of up to 30 meters.

Consequences were catastrophic, and this was also due to the lack of a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean. For these reasons despite a lag of up to several hours between the earthquake and the impact of the tsunami, nearly all of the victims in countries such as India and Sri Lanka were taken completely by surprise.

Verified deaths throughout the countries affected were more than 300,000, but it is estimated that it might have been more than 400,000. Evacuees were counted between 3 and 5 million. Deaths in Sri Lanka were more than 40,000 while the evacuees were more than 1.5 million.

 

In the Ampara district alone there were 10.500 deaths and 104.000 evacuees who were crammed in 71 tent camps afterwards.

The civil War:Tamil Tigers fight for independence

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Sri Lanka has witnessed several decades of a violent and bloody war between the state military force and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), the separatist organization founded and led until 2009 by Velupillai Prabhakaran.

This movement has fought for years to obtain the recognition of an Independent State for the Tamil Population of Sri Lanka. Territories claimed by and under the LTTE control were in the Northern and Eastern coast of the country.

The civil war officially started on July 23rd, 1983, when a Tamil Tiger commando killed 13 soldiers of the national army in Jaffna in an assassination attempt. After that, the Singhalese population revolted against the Tamil population and killed more than 4,000 people. This event has now come to be known as Black July. Since then the civil war has continued on, without interruption for more than 25 years. 

The origins of this conflict dates back to the 20th century, although the first documents in which an independent Tamil country is mentioned was first seen in 1963.

Tamil Tigers, known all around the world for their cruelty and violence, were finally defeated by the Sri Lankan army in 2009.

On May 16th, the President of Sri Lanka Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed the final victory against the rebels, after 25 years of war and more than 90,000 deaths.