Friday, March 17, 2006

Compounding tsunami damage

Rehabilitation efforts to coral reefs following the Dec 2004 tsunami "may actually result in more economic damage in the future" say IUCN and GCRMN:
The need for urgent supplies of building material has led local people to take sand and rock illegally from the coral reefs, which are protected under international conservation agreements [the report says].

Felling of coastal forests for building timber has also increased the risk of landslides that could cover reefs with sediment . "Reconstruction material should be drawn from sustainable sources and not from protected areas or steep forested hills...Sand and rock should not be dredged or mined from coral reef flats."

Donations of new, powerful and highly efficient boats and equipment to fishermen who lost their gear in the tsunami also heightened the likelihood of over-fishing and a decline in fish stocks. "A balancing act is required to re-establish employment for the fishers, while introducing sustainable fishing practices ... so that communities will have sustainable fisheries benefits in the future". (Reuters)

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