My brother sent me this question in an email:
If the north and east was hit badly why aren’t the fishing boats in the south and west not able to fish? Granted fish will be more expensive.
Plus there’s an article here that talks about the fishing industry a bit. Unfortunately, it’s not a static page, and I don’t know how long the article will last. So here’s a bit.
The estimated loss for Sri Lankas fishing industry due to the tsunami is approximately Rs. 30 Billion. The Sri Lanka Railway Authority has said that they need Rs. 7 billion to reconstruct the railway along the Southern coasts, which has been virtually destroyed due to the tsunami. Reports earlier said that more than 1000 boats belonging to fishermen were all destroyed due to the tidal waves, while some several thousand fishermen died due to the deadly waves.
But that’s just a diversion. Let’s answer the real question.
The north, east, and south suffered major damage, being hit the worst. The waves, however, didn’t hit just the east and then move past the country. The effect was more of a wrap-around type of thing.
Check out the above images, which should help explain this significantly better than any words I could use ever would. Without geeking you out, that is. You may wish to refer to a map of Sri Lanka as well.
Now that you’ve checked it out, let’s talk about it.
The waves on the east of the island were about 20 to 30 feet high.
The waves that hit Colombo were only 12 feet high. Colombo is on the west side of the island, the blind side from the earthquake, so naturally, the waves weren’t as bad. But still, 12 foot waves are significant enough to destroy. After all, people died in Colombo as well. One family from the church up in Negombo lost everything – they lived too close to the ocean.
Fishing boats all around the island were destroyed, not just those in the east where the worst destruction was.
As a side note, we had a fish monger who used to stop by a couple of times a week. He’d regularly have seer, which is a white fish that Fahim and I both love. He’d also have shrimp, or prawns as they’re referred to here. We preferred the type of fish that he had to sell. He hasn’t been around once since the tsunami hit. There haven’t been any other fishmongers around, either, and there used to be at least one, usually two, a day who’d go biking through the neighborhood yelling “Malu! Malu!”