Now a sense of optimism in Sri Lanka - Ipswich man notices gear change 10 years on from devastating Boxing Day tsunami

The battered beach of Unawatuna in Galle, southern Sri Lanka, following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

The battered beach of Unawatuna in Galle, southern Sri Lanka, following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Photo: Caroline Gammell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A Suffolk man who was in Sri Lanka when the Boxing Day tsunami hit 10 years ago has spoke about the changes the country has gone under since the disaster which killed more than 200,000 people.

The coastline on the southwestern city of Kalutara, Sri Lanka taken December 26, 2004. CREDIT: DIGIT

The coastline on the southwestern city of Kalutara, Sri Lanka taken December 26, 2004. CREDIT: DIGITALGLOBE - Credit: AP

Richard Burrows, from Ipswich, and who owns the Isana Beach House on the island country, said there is now a sense of optimism.

Mr Burrows, who also has a home in Japan, said: “In the first period after the tsunami, it took a long time to rebuild the housing.

“It was a very depressing time because we were starting again. But I thought it would be a catalyst for change.

“I stayed away for two or three years after the tsunami, as there wasn’t much I could do. It was depressing to go back.”


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Up until 2009, the military were fighting the Tamil Tigers. Mr Burrows added: “After the fighting, everything changed. There was peace and a sense of optimism on the island.

“People could travel for the first time in a generation. That was great for Sri Lanka.

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“People are investing in hotels and that again, there’s not enough rooms for people now. The last five years have been good.

“I’m very optimistic about my place, and the island as a whole.”

The Isana Beach House has been open since October, and has seven en-suite rooms, one of which is a family room.

“On reflection, it was a pivotal moment. I never realised it would have that effect at the time,” said Mr Burrows about the tsunami.

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