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  Tsunami and the environment
Updated 22 May 07

News articles

High waves force hundreds to flee Indonesia coastline

Channel NewsAsia 18 May 07

Indonesia Quake Caused Huge Coral Die-Off - Survey
PlanetArk 13 Apr 07

Deadly Tsunami Sweeps Solomon Islands
Richard A. Lovett National Geographic 2 Apr 07

Bringing back the coastal life-savers: mangroves
Nirmal Ghosh The Straits TiImes 22 Dec 06

Blunting the next tsunami
Story and Photo by Sira Habibu The Star 22 Dec 06

Living coral reefs provide better protection from tsunami waves
Princeton University 19 Dec 06

Aceh restores 4,528 ha of mangrove areas
Antara 5 Dec 06

President Clinton launches 'Mangroves for the Future' and Hails Impressive Tsunami Recovery Effort in Thailand IUCN 4 Dec 06

Study: Indonesia Coral Reefs Survive Tsunami But Not Cyanide Bombs Underwatertimes 27 Sep 06

Governments back sustainable coastal zone management to reduce disaster vulnerability in Indian Ocean countries IUCN 15 Sep 06

Fibreglass 'reefs' replace tsunami-damaged coral in Thailand
Yahoo News 13 Sep 06

Tsunami spurs interest in Asian coasts
By Michael Casey, AP Environmental Writer Yahoo News 7 Sep 06

Malaysia's Development Race Puts Mangroves at Risk
Story by Clarence Fernandez PlanetArk 22 Aug 06

Tsunami boosts illegal Indonesia logging
By Michael Casey Yahoo News 5 Aug 06

Global Support for the World Conservation Union's Tsunami Response

IUCN 30 May 06

Most Tsunami-hit coral reefs will recover if human impacts can be effectively managed, says new report
IUCN 14 Mar 06

Most reefs damaged by 2004 tsunami will recover in a decade
Written by Michael Casey PlanetSave 20 Feb 06

Singapore unlikely to be hit by a tsunami: Yaacob
By Hasnita A Majid Channel NewsAsia 16 Jan 06

Scientists: Coral Reefs Spared in Tsunami
National Geographic Magazine Red Orbit 28 Dec 05

Tsunami + 1 year: Reviving exhausted fisheries should trump replacing boats, gear, experts say
EurekAlert 22 Dec 05

Is disaster moving northwards? Nicobar Islands quake could have serious implications for S'pore and M'sia: Thai expert
By Jose Raymond Today Online 19 Dec 05

Mangrove forest saved lives in 2004 Tsunami disaster
IUCN 19 Dec 05

Tsunami's Environmental Damage Huge; Human Impact Bigger
By Michael Casey ENN 19 Dec 05

Under threat: Asian mangrove replanting schemes
from Nature SciDev.net 16 Dec 05

Aceh reconstruction brings threat of landslides and flash floods
WWF 16 Dec 05

Healthy corals fared best against tsunami
IUCN 15 Dec 05

Green coast project aims to restore coastal areas in Asia
WWF 15 Dec 05

Scientists voice tsunami concern
By Jonathan Amos BBC 7 Dec 05

Indonesia: Fishing's bright future needs protection in Aceh
Fishermen in Aceh, the Indonesian province devastated by last year's Asian tsunami, could emerge from the catastrophe with a brighter future. Humanitarian assistance is helping to put them back on their feet. But a danger of overfishing and control of the industry by outside business people could wreck their chances, warns the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) ReliefWeb 22 Nov 05

Health of Acehnese reefs in the wake of the tsunami shows human impacts more harmful
But reveals little influence of reefs on land damage. The authors concluded that although chronic human misuse has been much more destructive to reefs in northern Aceh than this rare natural disturbance, human modification of the reef environment did not contribute to the magnitude of damage on land. EurekAlert 7 Nov 05

New Science study: Mangroves shielded communities against tsunami
This is believed to be the first peer-reviewed empirical and field-based study to document a clear link between coastal vegetation and protection from the tsunami. Eureka Alert 27 Oct 05

Marine conservation organizations team up to conduct Indonesia coral reefs assessment
Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Reef Check and World Conservation Union to examine damage to tsunami-affected coral reefs; mission set to start next week. The survey outcomes will be incorporated into the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network's (GCRMN) "Post-Tsunami Status of Coral Reefs Report" – a special report in the "Status of Coral Reefs of the World" series, which provides the present state of coral reef health around the world. The complete status report will be released in early 2006. www.eurekalert.com 12 Oct 05

Tsunami Actually Aided Crops in Indonesia
From atop the coconut tree where he fled to escape the onrushing water, Muhammad Yacob watched the tsunami turn his rice paddy into a briny, debris-strewn swamp. Nine months later, Yacob and his wife are harvesting their best-ever crop -- despite fears that salt water had poisoned the land. By Chris Brummitt, Associated Press on the ENN website, 26 Sep 05

Aid Rush in Tsunami Region Raises Fishery Risks – UN
A rush to provide boats to fishermen in regions devastated by Asia's tsunami has raised the danger of unsafe vessels and overfishing, a UN agency warned on Wednesday PlanetArk 15 Sep 05

Sri Lanka launches new system to monitor tsunami funds Sri Lanka today launched a new system to track tsunami reconstruction assistance that will allow anyone with an internet connection to monitor progress. The web site, http://dad.tafren.gov.lk, allows the public to see how funds are being spent, right down to the district level. Similar systems will soon be launched in other tsunami-affected countries including Indonesia, Maldives and Thailand. UNDP website 2 Sep 05

Fields in Tsunami-Damaged Aceh Could Take Up To Five Years To Recover Farmers have started replanting some fallow fields in Indonesia's tsunami-devastated Aceh province, but it will take up to five years to rehabilitate the hardest-hit areas, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday. ENN website, Associated Press 30 Aug 05

Coral 'little damaged by tsunami'
BBC news 30 Aug 05

Lessons for Singapore after the Tsunami Intertview with Minister for Defense, Teo Chee Hean at the 2nd Singapore Humanitarian Conference. Radio Singapore International 25 Aug 05

Local strategies crucial to save Asia's mangroves Tsunami-stricken Asian nations that are planting mangrove thickets to protect against future disasters must give coastal communities a financial stake in the campaign if it is to succeed, experts said on Tuesday. PlanetArk, 23 Aug 06

Green light for tsunami sensors
The warning system could save thousands of lives Indian Ocean countries meeting in Australia have decided to set up a network of seabed sensors and buoys as part of a tsunami warning system. BBC Online, 5 Aug 05

Simple Tsunami Alert System now in Place
UN If another big tsunami were to roll across the Indian Ocean today, it would in all likelihood be detected and threatened nations would be alerted, the head of the UN body developing such a warning system said on Thursday. PlanetArk, 5 Aug 05

Tsunami Warning Useless without Plans, Says UN Body
A sophisticated network of ocean sensors at the heart of an Indian Ocean tsunami warning system will be useless without matching emergency and evacuation plans, the head of a UN oceanographic body said on Wednesday. by Paul Tait PlanetArk, 4 Aug 05

Asia's Promised Tsunami Alert System by December
BANGKOK - Disaster early warning towers will be in place across southeast Asia in time for the first anniversary of the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, the United Nations said on Friday. PlanetArk website, 1 Aug 05

UNDP Strengthens Tsunami Early-Warning System in southeast Asia
With the help of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, UNDP will place equipment-packed disaster early warning towers off the coasts of Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines to monitor sea-level activity and storm surges. In addition to improving the speed of responses in the event of an actual threat, the new project should also minimise the risk of false alarms, such as the one triggered last week by an earthquake underneath the Indian Ocean. UNDP website 29 Jul 05

The ecosystem way to post-tsunami reconstruction
Development and ecosystem management experts shared their experiences on the application of the ecosystem approach to reconstruction and restoration, six months after the tsunami wreaked havoc across the Indian Ocean. IUCN website 4 Jul 05

Five Facts on the December 26 Quake and Tsunami:
Magnitude--3rd most powerful in the past 100 years; Toll--230,000 dead or missing; Science--The quake was so powerful that the earth was still "ringing like a bell" months afterwards, scientists said. The quake also set records for the longest fault rupture; Aid--donors have pledged $6.7 billion and about $2.7 billion of that has been contributed or committed; Environmental impact PlanetArk 23 Jun 05

Development Threatens Malaysia's Mangroves
Malaysian PM Badawi called for the preservation of swamps as they shielded Malaysia's coast from the worst effects of the tsunami. But an 8-km (5-mile) stretch of mangrove forest was turned into a shrimp farm in Kuala Selangor early this year. PlanetArk website, 21 Jun 05

Next Indian Ocean Tsunami Matter of Time, Experts Say
Scientists are convinced another giant tsunami will one day sweep across the Indian Ocean -- what they are not sure about is when. PlanetArk website, 20 Jun 05

Reefs to Rice Paddies, Asian Tsunami Spared Nothing
Six months after the Indian Ocean tsunami, the west coast of Indonesia's Aceh province remains a scene of utter devastation, a vast swathe of land stripped of villages, trees and plantations. PlanetArk website, 20 Jun 05

Aceh Tsunami Survivors Fight Frustrations and Demons
Delays in reconstruction, aid delivery and other frustrations. PlanetArk website, 20 Jun 05

Environmental Impacts Found in Maldives Post-Tsunami Report
A report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today found that the Indian Ocean tsunami caused a number of significant impacts on the Maldives environment. Although Maldives world-famous resorts are in good condition and largely open for business, the country’s inhabited islands are confronting several environmental challenges that have resulted from the tsunami. UNEP website, 17 Jun 05

Tsunami Pushes Leatherback Turtles towards Brink
Story by Simon Denyer PlanetArk website, 15 Jun 05

Coastal Development Helps Tsunami Wreak Havoc - Study
Coral mining, landscaping and other instances of human development in Sri Lanka helped last December's devastating tsunami sweep even further inland than it might have, causing intense destruction, scientists said on Thursday. PlanetArk, 10 Jun 05

Tsunami a boon for endangered turtles
The highly endangered Olive Ridley turtles have had a safe breeding season this year along the coast of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Large numbers of the Lepidochelys oliveacea turtles are normally killed when they get entangled in trawler fishing nets. But fishing activity in 2005 was significantly reduced because of last December's tsunami. Fishermen lost their equipment in the disaster and were scared to venture out to sea. By Harsh Kabra BBC News website, 19 May 05

Taking geography seriously: Tsunami disaster a grim reminder
by Ooi Giok Ling Today, 11 Apr 05

Copying nature in Thailand, one artificial reef at a time
Efforts to mitigate impact of tsunami through artificial reefs Channel NewsAsia, 6 Apr 05

Sea turtles return to Sri Lanka
Many turtle conservation sites and hatcheries along Sri Lanka's southern and western coasts were wiped out in last December's tsunami. Conservationists feared that it could be a death knell for the critically endangered sea turtles. But according to the latest official study, marine turtles have been seen laying eggs in Sri Lanka's well-known nesting areas. It is hoped the trend will continue for the whole season. By Ethirajan Anbarasan BBC News 1 Apr

Tsunami Silt Threatens Indian Ocean's Coral
Three months after the Indian Ocean tsunami, divers are still pulling mattresses and metal from the coral-lined bays of Thai paradise isles, although experts say overall reef damage is not that bad. PlanetArk, 29 Mar 05

The World Conservation Union (IUCN), in consultation with stakeholders, is preparing a series of information papers incorporating best practice guidelines on how to make post tsunami restoration work environmentally friendly and sustainable. The papers provide concise and specific guidelines on environmental issues that need to be considered, potential impacts, laws already in place and key steps to sustainable restoration. A list of contacts to find more specific information is also included in each paper. IUCN website, 21 Mar 05

Governments call for responsible post-tsunami reconstruction of fisheries, pledge to combat illegal fishing
Representatives of 121 countries meeting at FAO have issued declarations stressing the need to rebuild fisheries and aquaculture in tsunami-affected countries in a responsible manner and pledging new action in the fight against illegal fishing. FAO newsroom 14 Mar 05

Signs of new life spring from Aceh's earth and seas
Amid the unending piles of rubble and stinking pools of saltwater along the once-idyllic coastline of Aceh, the Indonesian province worst hit by the December 26 tsunami, the local people are showing new determination to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. FAO newsroom, 10 Mar 05

The World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Protected Areas Programme and the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) are setting up a Tsunami Task Force. “Restoring protected areas is important to ensure long term conservation in the region,” “At the same time, some protected areas were facing major challenges even prior to the Tsunami. Now we have a chance to review protected area policies and management practices.” www.iucn.org 4 Mar 05

Thailand tsunami recovery focuses on livelihoods and coastal conservation UNDP-supported long-term tsunami recovery efforts in Thailand are focusing on regaining basic income sources such as fisheries and on coral reef protection along the Andaman coast. “We want to help restore self-sufficiency while preparing people for possible future disasters,” UNDP website 2 Mar 05

Rebuild Differently After the Tsunami, UNEP Advises recommendations from the After the Tsunami: Rapid Environmental Assessment
UNEP News Centre, 22 Feb 05

Build-up of excessive fishing capacity must be avoided Replacement boats and equipment should be appropriate to local conditions. Excessive capacity was a serious problem prior to the disaster -- a problem that reconstruction should avoid reproducing. UN FAO newsroom 21 Feb 05

Report looks at environmental impact of Asian tsunami a United Nations interim report "Geo Year Book 2004/5" on the environmental impact of the tsunami "the environment is not a luxury" CNN.com, 21 Feb 05

Appeals for action resound at conference The 23rd meeting of Unep's Governing Council is expected to issue a report on best environmental practices for countries to follow to prepare for and recover from disasters."Protection of the environment is no longer a matter of choice. The survival of humanity depends on the decisions and actions that we adopt today." IOL Science and Tech, 21 Feb 05

Tsunami, global warming to top world environment ministers' agenda in Kenya During the talks, UNEP will issue a report on environmental best practices that nations can use to better prepare for and recover from disasters like the tsunami. The report will make clear that "if you have stable nature, healthy coral reefs, healthy mangroves, healthy seabeds and well-vegetated coastlines," they can safeguard against similar catastrophes. But environmental action to prevent such disasters is only one part of the equation, he stressed, noting that the protecting the ecology, specifically combatting global warming, is key to achieving sustainable development. Tribune de Geneve, 18 Feb 05

Tsunami: Losses in fisheries and aquaculture climb to $520 million UN FAO assessment on the UN FAO newsroom 17 Feb 05

Tsunami clear-up: Phi Phi "We haven't been able to do anything for over a month now. Instead of just waiting for state agencies to help us, we decided that we must do something to help ourselves and revive the tourism industry on Phi Phi island". The campaign is expecting 150 volunteer divers to participate in the clean-up. Phi Phi island was one of the areas worst affected by the tsunami. The wave swept buildings and facilities into the sea and much of the debris is still there. by Jarunee Taemsamran Bangkok Post, 17 Feb 05

Sea and jungle life bounce back from the tsunami's battering The first assessment of the damage to wildlife caused by the Asian tsunami found nature has been surprisingly resilient to the effects of the giant waves. "The good news is that damage to the reefs we studied from the tsunami was low but the bad news is that unless we clean up the debris left behind there will be further damage," The scientists estimated that between 5 and 8 per cent of Yala Park had been affected but in many areas the grass and trees were already beginning to regenerate, he said. Although no study of the Maldives is known, it is likely the reefs there displayed similar resistance to damage. By Steve Connor, The Independent, 16 Feb 05

No end to mangrove destruction The destruction of the mangroves in Balik Pulau is continuing. A New Straits Times check at a tiger prawn and fish farm at Jalan Baru on the southwestern tip of the island this week revealed that a substantial number of mangrove trees had been recently cleared to make way for more fish and shrimp ponds. The New Straits Times, 15 Feb 05

Tsunami Impact: Conservationists Battle to Save Mangrove Patch In Penang, activists and fishermen returned recently to the site of the now chopped up mangrove forest next to Koay Jetty. There they planted 24 new mangrove trees in defiance of the state- government backed developers. Meanwhile, a newly formed group calling themselves 'Residents of Koay Jetty and Surroundings', in favour of the proposed development, circulated a statement that slammed the activists. ''They care only for the birds. We come a very poor second if at all,'' the statement read. ''As they sleep comfortably in their air-conditioned houses while a storm is blowing, do they ever spare a thought to us humans in the Koay Jetty worrying ourselves sick whether our plank houses can hold out against the storm?'' asked the group. by Anil Netto Inter Press Service News Agency, 14 Feb 05

After the Tsunami: Reef Relief in Thailand The Andaman and Nicobar reefs, surpassed in extension and biodiversity only by the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, have been almost "wiped off the aquatic map of the Indian Ocean," says N R Chattopadhyay, dean of Fishery Sciences at the Kolkata-based University of Animal and Fishery Sciences. While initial surveys along Thailand's western coast indicate that the damage may not be as bad as feared, there are concerns that large stretches of natural oyster beds and coral reefs across the southern Indian coast could have been completely washed away by the tsunami. by Scott O'Connell wildasia.net 06 Feb 05

Divers have two weeks to rescue coral By the middle of February, all the coral toppled by the tsunami will have died, meaning recovery efforts would be futile, biologist says. "The PMBC would like to do more to help the coral over the next two weeks, but we lack sufficient funds to organise diving trips for volunteer divers,'' Mr Niphon said, adding that the PMBC had not received funds from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) or diving organisations. by Kultida Samabuddhi The Bangkok Post, 5 Feb 05

Nature never kills itself Experts discover damage to the southern coral was not as great as feared. A two-week survey involving more than 100 marine scientists and 200 volunteer divers generally concluded that about 40 percent of the coral reefs remained intact. by Thon Thamrongnawasawat The Bangkok Post, 2 Feb 05

Tsunami - A long term view "We've got to get away from this whole idea that disasters are 'acts of God'," "In a sense, disasters are constructed - through development." The world may look back on the Indian Ocean tsunami as a turning point, "it will have a very strong memory input that may translate into policy changes". The Star, 2 Feb 05

Mangroves as a Tsunami Buffer - is it a myth? Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne discusses the statement, popular with some environmentalists, that the presence of mangroves along the shoreline in some parts of Sri Lanka, saved lives during the Tsunami. Originally published in Adoh Magazine, this update was provided by Gen de Silva wildasia.net 30 Jan 05

Tsunamis' environmental impact While it is easy to see the damage to the giant waves do on land, their ravages on the marine habitat are less visible but just as important. It may seem cruel or cold-hearted to focus on such environmental outcomes in the wake of vast human loss and suffering. But as the world attempts to mount a civilized response to Southeast Asia's human tragedy, it must also confront the humbling amorality of nature, and thus comprehend the environmental effects that will shape the lives of survivors and their descendants. By Arne Jernelov Taipei Times, 29 Jan 05

The Great Wave: Behind the tragedy, a boon for scientists For science at least, there was a silver lining. The data "will be of great use in preventing future disasters," One worry is that the quake failed to release all the pent-up energy between these two rubbing plates. The northern and southern tips of the fault may be prone to further earthquakes, "perhaps within decades". It also instantly showed which areas are vulnerable to big waves. Another insight gained from December 26 is the effect of natural tsunami buffers, which on many coasts have been destroyed by the tourist industry or prawn farms. Channel NewsAsia, 24 Jan 05

Disaster talks end with few specifics Experts and officials from around the world agreed to try to cut the number of deaths from disasters over the next decade, but aid workers noted a lack of details on steps needed to achieve this aim. Some delegates said negotiations were hampered by disagreement over measures to hold governments to promises. Some delegates fear countries were jockeying for leadership of the high-profile project. The Straits Times, 23 Jan 05

Early warning needs communities on board As nations squabble over plans for a tsunami early warning system, disaster experts say any solution should incorporate community-based strategies for risk reduction. “We can’t just cover our conscience by installing an expensive early warning system and think that the problem is solved” Examples of affordable systems include use of local temple bells, mosque loudspeakers, local radio, organisation of village teams. By Tim Large Reuters AlertNet, 21 Jan 05

Tsunami's damage to Indonesia's environment pegged at $675 million, UN agency reports In Aceh and North Sumatra, 25,000 ha of mangroves, some 32,000 ha of previously existing coral reefs, and 120 ha of seegrass beds have been damaged. The economic loss is valued at $118.2 million, $332.4 million and $2.3 million, respectively. The recovery and reconstruction process underway must also invest in the environmental capital of natural resources, the forests, mangroves and coral reefs that are nature's buffer to such disasters and their consequences. UN News, 22 Jan 05

Expert wisdom: A collection of quotes on disasters key quotes from heavy hitters at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan, on tsunami-ravaged farmland in Indonesia to the U.S. delegation’s fear that the issue of climate change could distort debate on disaster prevention. Reuters AlertNews, 19 Jan 05

Tsunami affects turtle conservation programmes Marine turtle conservation programmes surrounding the Indian Ocean suffered considerable damage. The sea turtle scientific community is appealing for public donations to assist in the reconstruction of affected conservation programmes. For more information go to www.seaturtle.org. by Hilary Chiew The Malaysian Star, 18 Jan 05

Change in coastal ecosystems after the tragedy The effect is likely to be very severe ecologically as well as economically, largely due to the degraded vitality of ecosystems that sustained support thousands of coastal communities around the Indian Ocean. Apart from immediate effects, conservationists warn of the long-term implications of devastated ecosystems. by Hilary Chiew The Malaysian Star, 18 Jan 05

Tsunami Clouds Future of Marine Animals impact of the tsunami on marine life, water turbidity, marine nurseries, dugongs, turtles, coral reefs. by James Owen in London National Geographic News, 17 Jan 05

Cover story: Guard our coastal guardians The recent tsunami waves left hopefully would have washed away the ignorance, deliberate or otherwise, about the importance of the mangrove forests to man and marine creatures. by Marina Emmanuel and Elizabeth John The New Straits Times, 16 Jan 05

Nature’s early warning system can serve us well If only we take the trouble to "listen" to nature, and "understand" the subtle signals sent, many lives would have been spared. While we rightly want to invest in a sophisticated and technical Early Warning System, we also must be serious about re-investing in the natural habitats that we have destroyed and lost. by Dzulkifli Abdul Razak The New Straits Times, 16 Jan 05

The next big one Studies on past earthquakes indicate the undersea quake off Sumatra is a threat that is likely to rear its head in the next few decades and possibly as soon as 30 years. Reconstruction efforts should also take into account future earthquakes to avoid a high human toll. by Chua Kong Ho The Straits Times, 16 Jan 05

Scientists release tsunami effect data Scientists release tsunami effect data in Sri Lanka, and how warning system could have helped ABC News, 15 Jan 05

Indonesian Forestry Ministry to Replant Mangroves Plans to replant 600,000 hectares of mangrove forests to help reduce the impact of possible future tsunamis. But mangrove experts warn that a plantation-style approach to mangrove rehabilitation programs could damage coastal ecosystems if they are done without sufficient preparation. Laksamana.net, 14 Jan 05

Thailand seeks divers to pick up fallen reefs 200 volunteer divers are needed to help save coral reefs. more than half of the reefs were knocked over during the tsunami, which churned up sand on the ocean floor, removing reef foundations and causing them to fall. if divers manage to move fallen reefs back into an upright position within a month, the coral should survive and keep growing. News24.com, 13 Jan 05 email Sakanan Plathong (email obtained from internet search)

Tsunami damage gives clues to climate peril-Annan Damage done by Asia's tsunami gives a clearer idea of the danger climate change poses to small islands, which fear rising seas will submerge them as the world warms, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said By C. Bryson Hull Reuters, 13 Jan 05

Tsunami: Will we be ready for the next one?
The article explores ways to avoid a similar disaster, looking at identifying and mapping areas at risk, building coastal defences, relocating inland, and concludes There's no question that the absolute least expensive, most effective, most bangs-for-the-buck mitigation effort is education". By Jenny Hogan and Emma Young NewScientist.com, 15 Jan 05

Review of tsunami reef damage to take months Scientists will not know for months how much damage the Indian Ocean tsunami caused to coral reefs, a crucial barrier against heavy seas and valuable tourist attraction. Decomposing bodies, rubble and trees are just some of the things caught in the reefs. It will take a massive international effort to remove this. By Nita Bhalla Reuters, 12 Jan 05

Banana palms suuccumb, coconut trees untouched The KAU team found that several plants suffered badly due to the changes caused by the tsunami in the coastal environment, while many others displayed remarkable tenacity in surviving the vagaries. Newindpress.com, 12 Jan 05

Lessons for life In the wake of the tsunami We ask a panel of experts what should change if future catastrophes are to be mitigated: The first lesson is about development in coastal regions. Second, the tsunami shows us how severe the costs of continuing business as usual can be. The third lesson is that environmental vulnerability must be reduced, not increased, and the true costs of damaging development taken into account. The Guardian 12 Jan 05

In death zone, basic instincts worked 8 to 10 minutes before the waves crashed into the sanctuary, all the guards standing in observation towers at the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary saw the same spectacle: Virtually every animal, including droves of black bucks, spotted deer, wild boar and jackals, dashed towards higher grounds and stood there—like students at a school assembly. Newindpress.com, 12 Jan 05

UNDP help for coral clean-up The unusual debris calls for special clean-up care. Coral reefs are not only a habitat for marine life, essential to the livelihoods of local fishermen, but also a crucial source of income for the Thai tourism industry. The department has also asked for help in mobilising 100 volunteer divers each Sunday for the next couple of months. The volunteer teams will help to clean up debris from coral along the west coast. and try to reattach parts of broken reefs. by Achara Ashayagachat The Bangkok Post, 12 Jan 05

Upset balance of nature - and mankind suffers
Warning system? Look no further than animals

Letters to The Straits Times Forum Page, 12 Jan 05

All animals escaped the killer waves "We have found 70 bodies of visitors to the park, including 15 Japanese tourists, but could not spot a single carcass of the 50,000 animals in the sanctuary. All the animals have survived the disaster,” Director General of the Department of Wildlife Dayananda Kariyawasam. by Mohammed Rasooldeen Arab News, 11 Jan 05

Outside View: Tsunami, Mangroves & Economy Having grown tenfold in the last 15 years, shrimp farming is now a $9 billion industry. The massive wave of destruction in 11 Asian countries alone has surpassed the economic gain that the shrimp industry claims to have harvested by several times. By Devinder Sharma r The Washington Post, 10 Jan 05

Geography, Planning Spare Maldives Tsunami's Worst Thanks to a combination of geography and planning, the death toll in the Maldives stands at just 80. A sea-wall around Male spared the city any serious damage, while strict regulations mean there is never more than one hotel on any of the 200 inhabited islands. It was not yet clear how much damage has been caused to the island's coral reefs, which give natural protection against rising tides and storms. by Dayan Candappa Reuters, 10 Jan 05

Tsunami rebuilding should not overlook nature -WWF Poorly planned coastal development compounded the impact of Asia's tsunami and rebuilding efforts should use natural protection provided by reefs and forests Reuters, 10 Jan 05

Did animals sense approaching disaster? The Indian authorities have reported that the indigenous, stone-age tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar islands escaped the effects of the tsunami because they heeded warning signals from birds and animals. by Nirmal Ghosh The Straits Times, 10 Jan 05

Divers begin Thailand's big coral clean-up marine experts said overall damage was not as bad as initially feared and that Mother Nature's own clean-up process had already kicked into action. The tsunami may just reverse the unchecked development which was rapidly destroying the island's environment. By Karishma Vyas Reuters, 9 Jan 05

Don't touch the mangroves Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. said "Mangroves should not be touched, they act as a barrier for big waves". Swamps should not be cleared to make way for development projects, Mangroves damaged by the tsunami be replanted. Mangroves helped save an Indonesian island of Palau Seumpelu, located near the earthquake epicentre. The island, with a population of around 60,000, lost only a hundred villagers whereas similarly populated places on the mainland of Sumatra had casualties by the tens of thousands. Zubaidah Abu Bakar The New Straits Times, 9 Jan 05

Malaysia cover story: Preparing for future shocks There is a whole list of lessons that need to be heeded from the tsunami tragedy, including the protection of our natural resources and getting prepared for any future calamities. Marina Emmanuel and Elizabeth John The New Sunday Times, New Straits Times, 9 Jan 05

Tourism and greed destroyed Thailand, not tidal waves Rapid rehabilitation could lead to a different type of disaster. Apart from restoring damaged areas, authorities must also deal with greedy businessmen and people living on natural resources. The government should not return to a development pattern that is centred on tourism money without regard for the limited capacity of beaches and the sea. The disaster provides an opportunity for environmental officials to ask resort and tour operators, who also faced severe business losses, to follow the guidelines in the Phi Phi island restoration plan. by Ranjana Wangvipula Cyber Diver News Network, 8 Jan 05

Mangroves can protect coasts Simeuleu Island, only about 40km from the epicentre of the Dec 26 quake, was saved by the wide belt of mangroves. There were only four deaths reported on the island, he added. Eyewitnesses reported that no waves penetrated the mangrove belt but the water rose smoothly like a rising tide. Mangrove forests might have helped protect Banda Aceh from the vast destruction caused by the tsunami, had it not been cleared for development. The authorities should not rebuild on the same spot but rather move the affected villagers inland and plant mangroves in the affected areas to act as a buffer. The Star, 8 Jan 05

'Destroyed mangroves could have saved lives' Areas without the coastal protective shield had high tsunami death tolls. Experts around the globe, who have long been calling for the preservation of mangroves and coral reefs, renewed their appeals after the recent disaster. By Nirmal Ghosh The Straits Times, 8 Jan 05

How Penang fishermen were saved by mangroves that they protected: For over a decade, inshore fishermen in Penang fought to preserve the mangrove swamps near their villages. The swamps acted as a buffer against the tsunami and saved some of them from death and prevented further destruction to their homes. "Whenever I made noise that there were insufficient mangrove trees in the area, I was accused of being orang tua bodoh (a silly old man)," said the 73-year-old. The New Straits Times, 7 Jan 05

U.N.: Mangroves could have reduced tsunami damage Damage from the Indian Ocean tsunami could have been reduced if more coastal areas had maintained their protective shields of mangrove swamps and coral reefs. The example of the Marriott hotel in Phuket, Thailand, which was built next to a turtle nesting beach and so was developed with strict environmental guidelines. The hotel was built back from the beach and development of the waterfront was severely restricted, so mangrove swamps were preserved along the coast. Apparently the damage, the actual physical damage, and the human loss of life was very much less than in other areas and other hotels in the region. The Star, 7 Jan 05

Fears for Andaman Island reefs, Thailand's survive coral reefs around India's Andaman and Nicobar islands may have suffered severe tsunami damage, but fears for those off Thailand have proven overblown, experts say. There might even be a silver lining, a United Nations official said. The Thai government estimates more than 3,000 fishing boats were damaged or destroyed by the killer wave. With those boats out of commission, depleted fish stocks might be able to regroup.Now that some of these places have been completely destroyed, there is a chance to do some zoning and create some national parks. By Crispian Balmer and Kamil Zaheer Reuters, 7 Jan 05

Survey to resuscitate tsunami battered biodiverity along coastline

An expert survey on the loss of biodiversity along the coastline has become an urgent need in Sri Lanka's coastline. The survey would help in preserving what is left of the rich biodiverity and to resuscitate whatever is possible before total destruction Sir Lanka Daily News, 7 Jan 05

Professor: Tsunami Destruction Could Have Been Reduced Some of the devastation caused by the powerful tsunami Dec. 26 could have been prevented if not for the loss of nature’s own protective coastal vegetation and natural barriers. livelihoods of many communities are affected when natural protection is removed in commercial development projects. He says wealthy investors often benefit the most from commercial developments, such as large-scale shrimp farming or hotels, but local residents tend to share much less in these benefits. Newswise, 6 Jan 05

Tsunami may have damaged coral reefs
Tsunami may have severely damaged coral reefs that already were in distress from pollution and global warming, possibly causing damage that will require decades to recover, experts say. Coral reefs also may suffer more diseases and even death from the silt and sand. The loss of coral reefs could severely reduce the amount of fish available to some small, oceanside rural communities in Asia and Africa that depend on the sea for food. ABC News, 6 Jan 05

Potential ecological impacts of Indian Ocean tsunami on nearshore marine ecosystems It is likely that coastal beaches and nearshore land areas devastated by this tsunami could be restored within a few years, but the most severely impacted nearshore marine ecosystems could take centuries to fully recuperate. NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), 6 Jan 05

Tsunami calamity highlights key protective role of coral, mangroves
"Coral reefs act as a natural breakwater and mangroves are a natural shock absorber, and this applies to floods and cyclones as well as tsunamis. In the Maldives, just over 100 people have been counted as dead and missing in a populace of 270,000; in Phuket, where there is a roughly similar size of population at peak season, the toll is nearly 1,000. Thailand's isolated neighbour, Myanmar, where much of the mangrove remains intact, was notably spared the scale of devastation" Channel NewsAsia, 6 Jan 05

The Shrimp Factor Did disappearing mangrove forests contribute to the tsunami’s severity? by Judith Lewis "There is no question that one human activity on the region’s developed coastlines contributed to the death toll: the cultivation of cheap shrimp, for which vast swaths of protective mangrove forests have been claimed and cleared." LA Weekly, 5 Jan 05

Tsunami Impacts on Coral Reefs in Thailand Under Investigation
"Of course the priority is to attend to the human tragedy, however, we will soon need to support efforts to clean up and rebuild local facilities and coastal waters. Many of the people impacted by the tsunami depend on the ocean for their livelihood." by Reef Protection International (RPI) on YubaNet, 5 Jan 05

Tsunami Leaves Behind Human Devastation and Environmental Damage that May Take Decades to Recover "While the extent has yet to be quantified, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, beaches and coastal wetlands have been severely damaged by the tsunami, depleting natural resources that communities rely upon for survival."
The Nature Conservancy News Release, 5 Jan 05

Tsunami may have dealt blow to marine life "Underwater devastation could affect fishing for years to come. Coral reef communities may have been torn up in chunks in some areas and suffocated by piles of mud and debris in others. Nurseries for young fish and turtles in mangroves and marshland may have been wiped out, possibly jeopardizing future fishing crops for decades to come." ABC News, 5 Jan 05

Mangrove destruction removed protective barrier against tsunamis
"How shrimp farming aggravated the devastation. In general, the economy benefitted from shrimp farming exports but the traditional coastal communities generally have not shared in these benefits. The second effect, the double loss occurs when they are now vulnerable to storms that can destroy their houses and cause massive loss of life." ABC Online, 4 Jan 05

Coral reefs, topography saved Andaman tribes "Though tsunami wreaked havoc in Nicobar, where the Shompens and the Nicobarese live, it could not cause any major damage in the area where the Jarawas, the Onges and the Great Andamanese live. The coral reefs on the west coast of Andaman, which have assumed the shape of boulders, and the littoral trees dotting the landscape acted as natural barriers." Deccan Herald, 3 Jan 05

Animal antennas better than human during tsunami
"Animals are perhaps more tuned to approaching danger than human beings, going by their successful scramble for survival in the nick of time during last week's tsunami disaster. Forests, mangroves and thick vegetation along or close to the coast also stood their ground against the massive waves." Indo-Asian News Service, 3 Jan 05

Mangroves can act as shield against tsunami "The mangroves in Pitchavaram and Muthupet region acted like a shield and bore the brunt of the tsunami. The impact was mitigated and lives and property of the communities inhabiting the region were saved." The Hindu, 28 Dec 04

New web site tracks tsunami recovery UNDP launched a web site—Tsunami Recovery—today to track reconstruction efforts in Indian Ocean countries hit by the 26 December tsunami. Coming online as former US President Bill Clinton starts leading the UN post-tsunami operations in the region, the site provides up-to-date information about how government, non-government and private sector contributions and workers are helping communities rebuild their lives and livelihoods. UNDP website 14 Apr 05

The Tsunami and Coastal Wetlands – Recommendations for Action Special Session on Tsunami and Coastal Wetlands, Asian Wetland Symposium 9 February 2005 ( PDF file on Siva's habitatnews). The recommendations cover Impacts of the Tsunami and Future Directions.

Before and after satellite photos of impact areas
Reuters AlertNet also has satellite photos of the various impact sites

S. Asia & S.E. Asia Tsunami: Environmental Impacts on the River Basin Initiative website: updated with latest news on the linkage between mangroves and the tsunami; previous work on mangroves in relation to tsunamis and storms; forum for discussion on this issue. The River Basin Initiative is a global activity under the joint work plan of both the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (link highlighted by Siva)

IUCN Tsunami Response: PDF reports

POST TSUNAMI ASSESSMENTS COMPLETED IN SRI LANKAN PROTECTED AREAS 3 Mar 5 IUCN's report of tsunami-related damage to Protected Areas located in Sri Lankan coastal zones: the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary, Rumassala/Buona Vista Marine Sanctuary, Rekawa proposed Turtle Refuge, Kalametiya Sanctuary and the Bundala National Park/ Ramsar Site, covering terrestrial, wetland and marine ecosystems.

TSUNAMI DAMAGE TO SEYCHELLES CORAL REEFS REPORTED 22 Feb 05 IUCN surveys of the Seychelles’ coral reefs reveal substantial damagee. “Many of the damaged coral reefs were still in a recovery stage after the massive coral bleaching from El Niño in 1998 and suffering from the detrimental impacts of climate change. The Tsunami added to that stress, underlining the need for urgent action to conserve the Seychelles’ coral reefs,”


POST-TSUNAMI RAPID ASSESSMENT OF MANGROVES - Report of a consultation 10 Feb 05

IUCN Early Observations of tsunami effects on wetlands and water resources has lots of details on mitigating effect on the tsunami and damage caused by the tsunami to wetlands as well as an outline of IUCN's efforts. Full statement, 7 Jan 05 (launches PDF file)

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tsunami relief efforts
an updated list
of how you can contribute

tsunami and
the environment

coral reefs & mangroves
their roles and impact on them

updated sites
these are still posting regular updates on the situation
ReliefWeb tsunami page

IUCN tsunami response

FAO tsunami webportal

Loy's blog focusing on Singapore's tsunami relief efforts

National Volunteer and Philantrophy Centre

tsunami help needed info on areas where help is needed (worldwide).
SEA-EAT blog: Southeast Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog with news and info on aid, donations and volunteer efforts (worldwide)

more links
wiki's indian ocean disaster relief portal
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