Coastal buffer zones keep tsunami survivors at bay

HIKKADUWA, Sri Lanka,(AFP) – The waterfront restaurant at the entrance to this Sri Lankan coral sanctuary survived the Asian tsunami but six months later its owner is struggling to keep his nose above water because a new “buffer zone” law prevents him from rebuilding. HIKKADUWA, Sri Lanka,(AFP) – The waterfront restaurant at the entrance to this Sri Lankan coral sanctuary survived the Asian tsunami but six months later its owner is struggling to keep his nose above water because a new “buffer zone” law prevents him from rebuilding. The giant waves spared H.A. Ranjith and his family — but only just. They lost five employees, the kitchen and the 58 chairs of their Southern Cool Spot and Chinese Restaurant in the December 26 catastrophe.

But despite being willing to take the risk that another tsunami will not come smashing into the island’s coast again, Ranjith has been told by the Colombo government to comply with new laws creating a 100-200 meter (328-656 feet) coastal buffer zone.

Officials estimate that more than a million people in tsunami-hit Indian Ocean nations are facing a similar predicament due to official bans by chastened governments on reconstruction along devastated coastlines.

Entire coral islands have been abandoned in the atoll nation o