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FAO gets recovery going after 2004 tsunami

[Seychelles]
IRIN

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is set to scale up post-tsunami recovery efforts in the Seychelles.

FAO fielded a mission to the Seychelles in April this year to assess the damage after the tidal wave that spread devastation across the Indian Ocean hit the archipelago in December last year, and appealed for a total of US $2.75 million.

"As it is, we have a total of $1.25 million to allocate, with a focus on three sectors: fisheries, agriculture and environment," Antoine Moustache, FAO representative in the Seychelles, told IRIN on Thursday.

Moustache noted that "getting funds together, writing proposals on the basis of funds, and ordering and distribution of equipment", were the three crucial steps that had to be taken before the projects could actually get underway.

"Only projects in the agriculture sector have reached that stage - by the end of this week we [expect to] have all the materials needed to start distribution to affected populations."

FAO is providing a variety of agricultural inputs to assist tsunami-affected farmers. To support the fisheries sector, the agency plans to assist in replacing lost or damaged fishing vessels, boat engines, parts and equipment, and repair a damaged ice storage facility. "Orders are still coming in - it will take quite a while before this sector gets underway," Moustache remarked.

The island has a long tradition of artisanal fisheries, with a growing small-scale semi-industrial sector. The relatively small economy of the Seychelles depends almost entirely on commercial fishery and tourism.

In the area of environmental rehabilitation, FAO is providing support to stabilise slopes affected by the tsunami and prevent further erosion and damage to key coastal areas.

Moustache noted that a collaborative effort between international aid agencies, local authorities and local populations had yielded evident signs of recovery. The main challenge would be "fair and equitable distribution of resources, and coming up with the necessary extra funding needed in the fisheries sector to bring things to the original state before the tsunami."

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