This is heartbreaking. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with incredible people, so to see the news of the Easter attack in the country today is just awful.
While some of the details are still emerging, 150+ people are dead and 500+ people are injured after there were at least seven explosions across the country (primarily in Colombo), including at three churches and four hotels.
Obviously the attacks on churches are every bit as tragic as the attacks on hotels (if not more tragic, given what they stand for), though since this is a travel blog, I’m focusing more on the hotels here. The Shangri-La, Kingsbury, and Cinnamon Grand, in Colombo, all experienced explosions today.
It appears that a majority of the 150+ person death toll comes from explosions at churches rather than hotels, though there are also casualties at hotels.
I’m seeing the following videos of the Shangri-La, for example:
— Yasiru Ranaraja (@yasiruranaraja) April 21, 2019
Then here are some pictures of the Kingsbury:
I won’t even share the pictures I’m seeing online of the churches, which make my stomach turn (like seeing statues with blood splattered all over them).
I had the chance to spend a week in Sri Lanka earlier this year, and had an incredible time. For that matter I’ve been to Colombo several times, and even stayed at the Shangri-La last year, and found it to be a great hotel. It was brand new at the time, and everyone working there was incredibly kind and proud, as it was the new flagship hotel of the city.
What a sad turn of events all of this is, given the trajectory Sri Lanka was on. The country is trying to greatly increase tourism, and was even about to relax visa requirements for visitors.
I remember the first time I visited Sri Lanka about a decade ago, right towards the end of their civil war. As it impacts aviation, there was a period where many airlines stopped flying to Colombo, as there were rebels trying to shoot down planes.
The country has come a long way in the past decade, so to see something like this again just makes me sick.
My thoughts and prayers are with those impacted (and the entire country, for that matter). If you have any travel planned to & from Sri Lanka, you may want to reconsider for now…