FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops and Shortages  - 02/05 - MALDIVES (9 February)

MALDIVES (9 February)

High wave and floods caused by the tsunami of 26 December 2004 inundated all the islands and affected to varying degrees the entire population. Some 100 000 people, one-third of the population have been severely affected. Over 80 people were killed and 20 remain missing. About 10 percent of the population were displaced and about 13 000 remain displaced.

The tsunami resulted in severe damage to housing and infrastructure in the tourism and fishing sectors. Tourism is the largest industry of the country, accounting for some 30 percent of GDP, over 60 percent of the foreign exchange receipts and about 90 percent of government tax revenues. The fishery is the second leading sector in the economy and about 20 percent of the total population is dependent on fisheries as the major income earning activity. Hundreds of boats, jetties and harbours have been destroyed or damaged. Total damages to the fisheries sector have been assessed as US$25 million while the cost of rehabilitation has been assessed as US$15.3 million.

Agriculture, constrained by the limited availability of arable land and shortages of domestic labour, plays a minor role in the overall economy but it is an income generation activity for rural households and contributes to their food security. Losses to agriculture are severe, with an estimated 30 percent of the field plots having been completely destroyed. Perennial trees such as coconuts, breadfruits, mango etc. have been uprooted and/or are suffering from salt toxicity.

WFP has provided some 40 tonnes of food aid since the advent of the disaster. FAO made an appeal for US$2 million through the UN Flash Appeal for emergency provision of seeds, tools and other agricultural inputs and rehabilitation of the fisheries and agricultural sectors.