Signs of renewal scarce along Sri Lankan coast / Only flickers of hope on Buddhist holiday
: "On the beach in Sainthamaruthu, an engineer from the Ministry of Fisheries, 23-year-old Ajith Frances, oversees a team of boat workers from Colombo, who are salvaging what they can of the local fishing fleet. The tsunami struck Sainthamaruthu's 240 fishing boats as they lay beached, on blocks, waiting out the rough winter weather. Boats were flung hundreds of feet inland, smashing into collapsing brick houses. 'About 50 are in condition to be repaired,' said Ajith Frances, who arrived when the village's narrow streets were still clogged with the bodies of about 500 residents. Under a tarp affording some protection from the tropical midday sun, workers lay fiberglass fabric onto the side of the Nail Marine, fixing the fabric in place with resin. S.M. Subayeer hopes his blue fishing boat can be salvaged; his two other boats are beyond repair. It will cost $15,000 to do the job, an enormous sum here. Refloating the fishing fleet is a top Sri Lankan government priority."