Groundviews commissioned The Picture Press to capture through photography the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka on Boxing Day, 2004. As journalist Amantha Perera notes,

The tsunami took a dramatic toll on unsuspecting Sri Lankans – 35,322 were killed, half a million were displaced, and more than 100,000 houses were destroyed. Half of the damage struck areas had been hard-hit by a 21-year armed conflict, making access complex and politically charged. The country was left with a reconstruction bill of over US$3 billion and an unprecedented humanitarian challenge.

The 2004 tsunami keeps coming up as a key turning point in Sri Lanka and TPP was asked to interrogate to what extent it really influenced how ​the country deals with hazard warning and disaster risk recovery. Echoing more academic writing on ‘building back better’ TPP was also asked to look at how, and to what degree, we had recovered and learnt lessons from the 2004​ tsunami, going to the field and speaking with a range of individuals.

The first dozen photos from this project are published today. Another set will follow in the first quarter of 2015.

Best viewed in full screen, click here to see the photo story, or engage with it below. Click on photos for larger version.

The photo essay uses Microsoft’s new Sway platform, which is completely responsive and tailors the content to the device you are viewing it from.