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On the 11th of January a team from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Marine Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and FAO flew from Medan to Banda Aceh along the Eastern coast and then again along Western coast up to Kuala Tripa in Nagan Raya district.
The total survey length was 717 km, 437 km along the Eastern coast, 280 km along the Western coast. Lhokseumawe, in the eastern coast, was identified as the start of the tsunami affected area. On average the section affected was about 1 km inland along the eastern coast. A feature of this eastern coast is that brackish water ponds cover the first 500m from the seashore, which are then followed by the paddy areas. 

The aerial survey revealed that a lot of brackish water aquaculture has been damaged and paddy fields have been covered by saline water. However, the boundaries of the paddy fields are still visible. The vessels and fishing boats were destroyed together with the port.
The western coast has been seriously damaged and it will take a long time for recovery. The paddy fields are covered by mud and the boundaries have disappeared. Irrigation and drainage facilities were also damaged. Some strips of agricultural lands have simply disappeared, either due to erosion or land subsidence. Clearly the West coast is showing an important fraction of land which should be classified as High damage Class C [see the FAO framework] and for which the options for future should be discussed openly.

The issue of damage on lands and recovery is a serious one that bears several aspects:
  • Some lands are no longer usable for agriculture;
  • Some lands no longer have owners;
  • Boundaries of field properties have disappeared; cadastre destroyed thus making restoration of land titles and inheritance a serious issue.

Coastal reconstruction plans should be developed by local communities in a consistent manner with national guidelines.

 contact: tsunami@fao.org © FAO, 2005