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FAO in action

Overview of FAO's response to the tsunami disaster

Within a week of the disaster, FAO committed US$1.5 million of its own funds for needs assessments and recovery support in Indonesia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand. As part of the UN Flash Appeal, it called for an additional US$26.5 million to support recovery efforts in the most severely affected countries - Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Seychelles, Somalia and Sri Lanka, and US$2.5 million for regional activities in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The majority of people affected by the disaster had agriculture- and fisheries-based livelihoods or were employed in associated enterprises. Using its own and donor committed funds, FAO rapidly fielded expertise to assess the damage and losses to agriculture and fisheries and to assist the governments in the planning and coordination of emergency responses in these sectors. More recently, FAO has fielded staff and consultants for rehabilitation and restoration assistance in the forest sector. As of 1 March, the Organization had deployed several staff members and over 70 international and regional experts in various areas of expertise to assist affected countries. It has recruited emergency coordinators for Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka and a regional coordinator to provide necessary coordination within FAO and with the country and key players.

FAO has a dual role to play: one in furnishing direct assistance to affected populations, and another in providing technical support and coordination.

To respond to immediate needs to reestablish the livelihoods of farmers and fishers in the affected countries, FAO is currently procuring and delivering agricultural seeds, other urgently needed agricultural inputs, fishing boats and gear among other things. FAO's role in delivery of inputs is particularly important in the case of specialized equipment and in affected areas not adequately served by others.

Many affected countries, partners and donors perceive FAO's most essential roles in the tsunami recovery and rehabilitation efforts as providing technical guidance, technical specifications and coordination in the areas of forestry, fisheries and agriculture, including their linkages in integrated coastal zone management. Coordination among actors within countries is crucial, as the unprecedented level of donations and number of actors poses a serious risk of oversupply and inappropriate and fragmented assistance for recovery.

Download infonote on FAO's tsunami related forestry work 

Unasylva articles

Articles on FAO's tsunami related forestry responses published in Unasylva, the FAO forestry journal.