chapter  3
The golden wave: discourses on the equitable distribution of tsunami aid on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast
Pages 20

The Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26 December 2004 devastated 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s coastline. Due to the southwest coast’s proximity to the nation’s capital, its high visibility as a foreign tourist zone with luxury hotels, and its political clout at the national level as a Sinhala-majority area, the Southern Province was quickly and deeply inundated by a “golden wave” of aid. In this chapter, I report on events that took place within a year after the tsunami in the predominantly Sinhala Buddhist area between Aluthgama and Ambalangoda in Galle District on the southwest coast of the island. I focus specifically on the relationship between institutional policies, interpersonal status dynamics, and individual identities as they played out against the backdrop of the tsunami and the subsequent windfall of disaster relief aid.