Building back better livelihoods in the tsunami zone

Building back better livelihoods in the tsunami zone


Six months after the devastating tsunami around the coasts of the Indian Ocean, strong coordination between governments, donors and aid organizations is essential to ensure that the unprecedented resources committed to the recovery effort are directed appropriately and help build back better livelihoods for those hardest hit by the disaster, FAO said today.

"Inappropriate and uncoordinated assistance will do more harm than good," said Richard China, Rome-based coordinator of FAO's rehabilitation activities. "FAO is working with ministries and local authorities to help build consensus among non-governmental organizations on what should be done where by whom and how, including providing technical specifications, to avoid duplication and fragmentation of activities and unsustainable practices."

To date, FAO has $53 million of approved funding for its tsunami and has deployed more than 70 international and regional experts to help affected countries with needs assessments, coordination, planning and delivery of early recovery and longer-term reconstruction assistance. Contributors to FAO's programme include the European Community, Italy, Norway, Japan, Belgium, Finland, Spain, China, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Zambia and the United States.

Helping fishers and farmers get back to work

FAO is providing direct assistance via governmental and non-governmental intermediaries to tsunami and farmers through the delivery of repair kits and engine parts for fishing boats, fishing nets and other gear, seeds and farm tools, motorized paddy cultivators, and repair of irrigation and drainage infrastructure, as well as guidance, training and equipment to deal with salt water damage to farm land.

In order to provide income and livelihood opportunities to communities and allow resumption of food production, FAO is supporting cash-for-work programmes to rehabilitate paddy fields covered with debris.

Forestry rehabilitation

FAO's tsunami programme for tsunami, including assessment of wood demand and supply for reconstruction of houses and other infrastructure, has produced positive results concerning government action to protect natural forest and wildlife reserves and address the danger of accelerated illegal logging and deforestation.

FAO is also developing a programme to facilitate district and village level land use planning to identify the opportunities for forest rehabilitation, reforestation and agroforestry to provide for coastal protection and livelihood needs of local populations.

Furthermore, FAO has provided essential support to line ministries and development banks in the preparation of their initial reconstruction plans. In Indonesia, the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency for Aceh and Nias last week asked FAO to provide advisers in fisheries, agriculture and forestry to assist the Government in the more detailed planning of its recovery activities.

Multiplier effect

"FAO's budget is relatively small in comparison to the billions received by other organizations, but our technical assistance and know-how will have a multiplier effect, helping to optimize sustainable outcomes from all of the resources deployed towards recovery of rural and fishing-based livelihoods," said China.

Approximately 40 percent of FAO's tsunami budget has already been delivered to the affected countries and committed to procurement of inputs and technical assistance.

While another $22 million of potential donor funding is in the pipeline for FAO, $50 million is needed to enable FAO to maintain and expand its technical assistance and direct support in line with the unmet needs of local fishers and farmers to restore their self-reliance and dignity.