District has undergone more than two decades of conflict, with internal displacement, damages to homes and infrastructure, loss of livelihoods, and high numbers of single-headed households already being major concerns prior to the tsunami. For example, prior to the tsunami in 2004, there were 2,337 women who lost their husbands through various disturbances. The tsunami has greatly exacerbated these problems.        

Effects of the Tsunami

The tsunami of Sunday, December 26, 2004, was caused by an earthquake in the region north of Sumatra, Indonesia, in the Indian Ocean and measured 9.0 on the Richter scale. The quake occurred at 6:58 am (Sri Lanka time) and the tidal waves reached the east coast of Sri Lanka at 8:57am. As Ampara District is a predominantly coastal region, it was severely damaged, with great loss of life. Eleven out of twenty divisions were affected, with the following impacts:

  • Affected persons:                      193,000
  • Affected families:                      38,000
  • Deaths:                                     10,436
  • Total estimated damages:           $565.7 million

Reconstruction priorities are the provision of housing, livelihood support, and infrastructure rebuilding.