Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

FAO calls for $26 million to help tsunami victims

06 Jan 2005 -- Many millions of farmers and fisher folk in coastal areas
affected by the disaster

Bangkok/Jakarta - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today launched an urgent appeal for $26 million for farmers and fisher folk hit by the South-Asian tsunami disaster, the agency said on the occasion of the international disaster summit in Indonesia. Funds are needed to finance emergency rehabilitation projects over the next six months.

“The tsunami tidal waves have destroyed the livelihoods and the economic basis of many coastal communities in terms of death, injury, unemployment, loss of assets and migration,” said Fernanda Guerrieri, Chief of FAO’s Emergency Operations Service. ”Fisheries and aquaculture are the sectors most seriously hit by the disaster with a devastating effect on many millions of mostly small-scale fishers who are dependent on a daily fish catch for food and sale.”

“In addition to the human tragedy, fishers have lost their boats, fishing gear, support industries, and aquaculture installations have been damaged or lost. Farm animals have been killed and crops have been washed away or are dying due to saltwater floods. Similarly, many water reservoirs and wells cannot be used anymore because of saltwater and water pollution, and irrigation and drainage facilities are destroyed,” Guerrieri said.

“The need for emergency rehabilitation of agriculture and fisheries in the region is enormous and will be definitely much higher than the amount we are asking for now,” Guerrieri said. “Our assessment teams are currently out in the region to obtain a clear picture of the damage.” FAO’s initial call for international assistance is part of the United Nations flash appeal for tsunami victims in Asia. FAO has already provided a total of around $1.5 million from its own funds as emergency aid for agriculture and fisheries in Indonesia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf will meet ambassadors from affected countries and donors in Rome on Friday as a follow up to the appeal.

RAP 05/01

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