Most waves on the ocean are caused by wind blowing across the water’s surface, but a tsunami is caused by an earthquake on the seafloor of the ocean. Their energy penetrates deep into the ocean. As a tsunami approaches land and the seafloor rises below it, all this energy expands upward and the wave increases in height. The Queen of the Sea train was struck by the tsunami near the village of Telwatta, the wave – nine meters high at that point – killing all but a handful of around 1,700 passengers on board. Emergency relief is about urgently addressing a dislocation in the life of a community that has occurred on an exceptional scale. It requires specialist support, focused on immediate needs like rescue, security and sourcing and managing supplies of water, shelter, food and medical support. Stakeholders gathered for an inception workshop held in Colombo to define the structure of such a livelihoods component to rehabilitation planning.