John Stanmeyer shares his 2004 Sri Lanka Tsunami experience 10 years on.
"10th Anniversary of Indian Ocean Tsunami — Salvaging the few possessions from her destroyed home after massive wave hit the city of Batticaloa located in eastern Sri Lanka. Thousands where killed on December 26, 2004, by the Indian Ocean tsunami that hit this second largest city along Sri Lanka's east coast.
Ten years ago today I came upon this event. Walking some 1/2 mile (.8 kilometers) inland from the sea, a home literally snapped in half by a wave that took the lives of more than 230,000 across six countries. The women was stoic, resolute in the task of collecting the few items that remained, her only possessions amidst a landscape strewn in debris and more bodies then I could ever count.
It has been a difficult task returning to this specific period of time in my archive. I spent a week traveling throughout Sri Lanka in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It left me deeply saddened, at times lost. Often crushing me in silent. An event of such magnitude it was beyond comprehension. Beyond photography.
Having grown up in the Bahamas, spent time along the east coast of Florida, later in life on a small island off Hong Kong and lastly Bali, Indonesia, oceans have been a natural part of my life with no fear of water nor the deepest seas.
However since 2004 and till this day, when I stand on a beach, the first thing I do is consider an exit plan — where would I run, just in case. Then, panning about, I look for swale’s, indentions or depressions in the marsh area of sand usually 100-200 meters before the shoreline, an indication of ancient tsunami activity. It usually follows in flashing remembrance of what I witnessed from months in Sri Lanka and Indonesia in 2004 through 2005, crushed and astonished as I ponder just how alive our earth is.
All my best,
Photograph by @JohnStanmeyer
#Repost from @natgeo
Enjoyed this?...You might also enjoy:
Our LATEST Posts