Ten years after the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people, the generosity of the people of Dundalk can still be seen today.
Dundalk woman Emma Savage came across a boat donated by the Dundalk Lions Club following the tsunami.
Emma is currently travelling around Sri Lanka and was stunned to see the boat marked “Dundalk” in Arugam Bay.
The 4th-year public relations student in DkIT managed to track down the owner of the boat.
“It was a nightmare trying to track him down,” Emma told The Democrat,
“Not a lot of people have great English.
“I really was interested in how he got the boat. I had pestered the fishermen so much to find out who actually owned the boat and when I finally met him he was like a local celebrity.”
The boat belongs to a fisherman named Yakoob Sehuthamby.
He lost his boat in the tsunami in 2004. The Dundalk Lions Club boat was gifted to him in 2005.
Over 500 people were killed in this short stretch of the beach of Argam Bay.
This is where the fisherman has lived all his life with his family.
“The whole community was affected,” said Emma, “They really appreciated the foreign aid.
“Yakoob took me out fishing on the boat. It was an amazing experience. He is a really nice man and appreciates the boat so much.
“It just shows that with the help of Dundalk, this fisherman is able to earn money for his family.”
Tadgh O’Sullivan, Public Relations Officer with the Lion’s Club, says that they are thrilled Emma’s discovery.
He said: “We didn’t expect that ten years later we would every hear of the boat again.
“We purchased the boat through an aid charity at the time.
“We are delighted that the money donated has went to good use.”
The tsunami occurred on December 26th 2004.