In Sri Lanka, the tsunami that struck on the morning of December 26, 2004 left behind widespread destruction and killed over 31,000 people, destroyed over 99,000
homes, and damaged natural ecosystems, and coastal infrastructure. Vulnerable groups, such as poor fishermen living close to the shore in simple houses and shelters, have borne the brunt of the negative impacts. Apart from the coastal communities already being comparatively poor in the Sri Lankan context, the tsunami has compounded previously existing vulnerabilities: the North East is the region worst affected by the tsunami. The percentage of the coastal population affected ranges from an estimated 35 percent in Kilinochi to 80 percent in Mullaitivu and 78 percent in Amparai coastal district divisions compared to the southern districts of Galle, Matara, and Hambantota with less than 20 percent of the coastal population affected, albeit with scattered pockets of severe damage.
This section outlines a preliminary estimate of the damage and needs resulting from the widespread coastal destruction caused by the 2004 tsunami by first evaluating the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the disaster and then summarizing the damage and needs for the following sectors: education, health, water supply and sanitation, transportation (roads and railways), livelihoods, housing, power, agriculture, tourism, and fisheries.