The massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami waves that originated off the west coast of northern Sumatra on the 26th December 2004 caused extensive damage to coastal communities, principally in the southern Bay of Bengal. The areas impacted most heavily included, in addition to northwestern Sumatra, the coasts of Sri Lanka, southern India, the Maldives, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, northern Malaysia, southern Thailand and southern Myanmar as well as Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya.
Latest estimates1 put the human cost of the tsunami at just under 300 000 people killed (or still missing) with a negative impact on the livelihoods of around five million people. The cost of recovery for the affected areas could be over $ 11.5 billion USD2 . The majority of those affected had agriculture-fisheries based livelihoods or were employed in associated enterprises. The degree of damage to lives and property varied within and between countries and communities with some suffering complete loss of villages, homes, fishing and aquaculture infrastructure (including port and post-harvest facilities), fishing vessels and gear, aquaculture facilities (including ponds, cages, hatcheries and brood stock), markets, as well as other livelihoods assets.
Natural disasters require the urgent provision of basic humanitarian assistance through relief. This phase is followed by a period of rehabilitation, which in the case of tsunami affected countries, may take five years or more. During this period, efforts will be geared to the sustainable development of the communities and various economic sectors including agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and tourism. As relief moves to rehabilitation and later development, there is a much greater need for coordination of efforts to ensure optimal use of resources and targeting of support.
To promote better coordination, a consortium approach has been adopted by a group of key regional agencies with a mandate to support livelihoods of coastal communities involved in fisheries and aquaculture.
Key CONSRN partners:
Other partners will be involved in many aspects of work of the consortium, including planning assistance, mobilization of resources and implementation of activities and include interested NGOs such as the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Sustainable Development Foundation (SDF) and the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).
The Consortium will provide a forum for the sharing of information and views and development of strategies. Key objectives of the consortium include providing a mechanism to harmonize the activities of the core partners in terms of:
To facilitate a cooperative and multidisciplinary approach, CONSRN has developed this Regional Strategic Framework. The benefits of adopting such a framework are that it helps focus the work of the partners through a common vision and strategies whilst at the same time facilitating decision-making through a set of agreed guiding principles. This allows more efficient use of resources and provides an effective mechanism for sharing valuable lessons and results within the partners and other agencies.
CONSRN has adopted a participatory approach during the development of the vision, strategies and guiding principles. Wide consultation was sought from partner agencies and interested parties. The key elements of this Regional Strategic Framework were elaborated at a regional workshop involving representatives of the governments from the tsunami affected countries, consortium members, NGOs and donor agencies3. It is therefore hoped that this framework will be of use to other agencies involved in the tsunami recovery work.
1 FAO: Response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster. 15th March 2005
2 ADB Review, Rebuilding lives after the tsunami. April 2005
3 CONSRN Regional Workshop on Rehabilitation of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Coastal Communities of tsunami affected countries in Asia (Bangkok 28th Feb.-1st Mar. 2005). FAO RAP Publication 2005/06