A nation that has been hit by a tsunami or any other natural disaster will undoubtedly suffer the consequence of a lack of tourism. In the case of the December 2004 tsunami, the countries hit all saw a large reduction in tourism.1
Efforts must be made to encourage tourists to return to tsunami-stricken countries. The affected country must make itself look safer and more attractive. Tourists need confirmation that there are better tsunami safety measures. This does not necessarily mean that the country sets up early complex warning systems. Rather, it means that the country makes new and safer building codes and puts significant effort into the recuperation from the disaster. Example: after being hit by the December 2004 tsunami, Thailand immediately formed a tsunami restoration committee. This committee had the following objectives:
1. To develop measures for recovery and development of tsunami resources.
2. To rezone and replan the tsunami stricken area
3. To create of a Marine Watch Service Center
4. To promote tsunami memorial products
5. To establish a tsunami museum
6. To enforce a "safer beach" design, requiring resorts to build farther from the shore. 2
The message is clear; these goals conveyed that Thailand was making a conscious effort to recover from the tsunami and improve safety measures.
Tourists must be educated immediately and efficiently in order to prevent having a large number of tourist casualties, an occurrence that will definitely have devastating effects on the tourism industry in both the long and short run. One way of accomplishing this would be to establish monuments - like the one created in New York after 9/11 - and museums. Immediately following a disaster, public awareness is heightened, and education measures would carry more impact.
This is a map showing the land use in Peru in 1970. 3
The left map indicates population density, which is concentrated along the coastline in Peru while the right map represents average annual precipitation around Peru (graphics taken from Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 DVD).
Peru depends heavily on the primary industry (GDP composition by sector: agriculture: 8%, industry: 27%, services: 65% (2003 est.) & labor force by occupation: agriculture 9%, industry 18%, services 73% (2001) 4
According to the above thematic map indicating the land use in Peru, only the irrigated cultivation (sugarcane, cotton and rice) along the coastline will be affected by tsunami. In Peru, rice is a major agricultural product5
so saline-resistant seeds of rice may help Peruvian farmers recover their rice yield until saline minerals are removed to certain extent from the land. In 2002, Peru exported only 0.3 MT and imported 34.3 MT of rice4
so for the time being more rice will be imported from foreign countries. For sugarcane in 2002, 154.1 MT was imported while only 43.1 MT was exported4
so a lot more sugar is assumed to come from other countries after tsunami hits the sugarcane farms along the coastline.
While land is recovering from saline water after flooding, saline agriculture using saline-resistant seeds may be used for temporary farming. There are some problems with freshwater irrigation; minerals from sea water (Na+, Cl-, Mg2+, etc) remain in soil by replacing the minerals in the soil and the incoming freshwater washes out nutrition together with minerals so that more fertilizers are needed during the recovery from saline water. And, the precipitation is very low along the coastline in Peru (see the map above); it is an arid area, so it will take much time to replace the saline water with freshwater. The duration and extent of saline agriculture will be determined mostly by local farmers.
This map represents average annual precipitation around Micronesia, which is much higher than that along Peru's coastline (graphics taken from Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 DVD).
Micronesia: Micronesia's economy depends much more heavily on agriculture than Peru's does; its agricultural system is subsistence-oriented. 50% of its GDP composition comes from agriculture while only 5.71% of the total land is arable, permanent crops being 45.71%6
. Its major crops are coconuts, indigenous pig meat and cassava7
. As in Peru, saline agriculture with saline-resistant crops may be used. Yet, less additional fertilizers will be used compared to Peru because Micronesia's farming depends less on irrigation thanks to more precipitation (see the map above). Since some natives may oppose to new agricultural means, oral tradition and legends in the areas may help the lands recover from saline water.
It is assumed that most to all of cattle/livestock that was once living in post-tsunami devastated areas would be obliterated. To repopulate ranches and other relevant places with lost livestock, livestock would be transported from other parts of Peru (and other neighboring countries, if necessary), primarily by truck. The livestock would be voluntarily given up by other ranches, or would be paid for, as determined by the central agency.
It is important that animals of all age groups (and, of course, both sexes) be transported for optimal growth, for sociological reasons.
Coastal regions are generally near fishing grounds. Fishing grounds are not necessarily near the coastal regions, so we are assuming that the fish are not affected by the tsunami. Often, fisheries exhibit overfishing, so the period in which there is no fishing should give time for the population to grow16. If the fish supply is low, the plantation of mangroves (which are also part of preventive measures taken by countries) will provide a healthy habitat for the fish and other aquaculture to live in.
The main objective in reviving the fishing industry is to give tools and boats to the fishermen who need it in order to relive their old lives. Damaged boats need to be fixed or new ones need to be allocated to those who need them. The government and non-governmental organizations have supplied boats and supplies to farmers after the tragedy in the Indian Ocean basin.
Peru is known for its Peruvian anchovy and the processing of it. Specifically in Peru, a processing company needs to be rebuilt in order for profit to be gained by the country. As the fishermen continue fishing, new processing plants need to be built to accommodate the catches made.
Micronesia has rich fishing grounds. It is not only exploited by the islands, but by foreign countries who give money to the nation to obtain rights to operate in Micronesia’s territory. Micronesia receives $20 million annually for the right to operate in its territory17. The fisheries in Micronesia should not face many problems. The period in which no fishing occurs will allow the fish to multiply.
While the central agency has the responsibility of deciding how funds are allocated, it is the responsibility of the government to actually implement livelihood/civilian reemployment. The government shall keep records of all funds allocated to civilians. This would probably cause a major change in the degree to which the government of Peru keeps track of its citizens18, but perhaps not as much for the government of Micronesia19. Funds may be allocated in many forms, some of which include:
(a) hourly wages for short-term/long-term employment;
(b) physical funds;
(c) market recovery incentive funds
(a) Hourly wages for short-term/long-term employment: the government shall offer monetary assistance to civilians hired for temporary jobs, particularly those pertaining to long-term relief tasks, such as reconstruction of roads, buildings, etc. (naturally, those civilians hired for certain types of semi-skilled or skilled labor will have been proven to be qualified for the labor). Monetary assistance shall also be offered to civilians that begin farming, especially farming that is specifically begun as a response to new agricultural demands (i.e., because of the tsunami). For farming, physical funds will also be provided.
(b) Physical funds: physical funds are forms of assistance that the government offers that are separate from funds for hourly wage, and are generally intended for particular physical things. For example, in the case of farming, the physical funds that the government offers are tractors, plows, other essential farming equipment, seeds, etc. For the fishing industry, the government offers physical funds in the form of boats and fishing equipment to those civilians involved in fishing/fisheries.
(c) Market recovery incentive funds: the government shall introduce to the public a “Market Restoration Incentive Program” that would encourage civilians to reintroduce their stores/markets. With this program the government would assist the concerned civilian with 20% of startup costs (or another percent based on available funds, as decided by the central agency) for the store/market.
To receive these funds, the concerned civilian would have to prove that his/her store/market is a legitimate market by an application process. Included in the application process would be a description of the market, and, more importantly, an explanation (or list) of the sources of goods going into the market. The government would only offer assistance to civilians that were getting their goods from sources already “okay”-ed by the government, such as NGO’s or other government-approved agencies.
In a natural disaster, children are bound to suffer. In the December 2004 tsunami, forty percent of the known Sri Lankan deaths were children8. Many other children were orphaned because their parents perished in the tsunami. Others have living parents who are alive but in unknown locations. A major difficulty in emergency aid is protecting all the children who have been separated from their parents. There are some general steps that should be taken to protect children, as well as other procedures that will apply specifically to either Micronesia or Peru. In her speech on the UNICEF response to a recent natural disaster, UNICEF executive Carol Bellamy outlined three main steps to caring for child victims. First children must be kept alive. Then they should feel connected to families and communities. Eventually, children should return to normalcy9.
Immediately following a tsunami, the first step is to guarantee the safety of the children. Margesson notes that massive dislocations leave children specifically vulnerable10. The fastest way to protect children is to register them at refugee camps. Not only does this help keep track of their numbers, it also makes it easier for their parents to find them. In addition, if all refugees are routinely registered, there should be no difficulty in registering solo children, perhaps in a special subset of the main database. Registering children will at least keep track of their numbers. However, the refugee camps cannot guarantee the safety of the children without first setting up strict security. Security officers would be responsible for protecting the children from sexual abuse as well as prying journalists. This internal security, as well as protection from external harrassment, would keep the children physically safe as long as they remained in the camps.
To provide greater safety and community support for children than for the general population, UNICEF creates "child-friendly" spaces in refugee camps4 around the world. In these areas, children are provided with opportunities to participate in activities that increase their overall recovery as well as the general morale of the camps. They provide peer support to help each other overcome the pain of loss, participate in camp security, and organize their own recreational activities11. UNICEF supplements the innovations of children with recreation kits that contain several types of balls and games12. Forming a community and sharing their experiences will help the psychological recovery of all the children11.
While the children remain in the refugee camps, they will need special support. Infant food and special nutritional support must be provided12. According to UNICEF, children must be provided with hygiene, water and sanitation services, psychologists, and basic health care of even higher quality than the general population. The same applies for pregnant women12. NGOs, and IGOs like UNICEF, should provide these services with the methods that they already have implemented in areas of conflict and natural disasters. To ensure maximum efficiency and that all the camps have enough supplies, the Relief Director of the International Tsunami Center, along with advisors, will work to coordinate the efforts of the independent relief agencies.
As soon as children arrive in the camps, the efforts to locate their parents should begin. Nobody would know how many of the children are actually orphans and how many have simply been separated from their parents. Although the relatives of some of the children may be confirmed dead, no immediate adoptions should be allowed. After the Asian tsunami of December 2004, Acehnese children under 16 were not allowed to leave the province without a parent due to the risk of child trafficking13. Child trafficking as well as recruitment of child soldiers has been documented. These children are exploited as bonded laborers, for pornography or prostitution, and, in some cases, for marriage13. Children whose families have beyond doubt perished may be best off being adopted, but many nations are unwilling to have their children who survive the tsunami taken away from their cultures8. Those countries that temporarily prohibit international adoptions do so with good reason. Removing even more children from their homelands will deprive the children of their native cultures as well as skew the future demographics of the homelands, with possible economic consequences. A genuine effort should be made to reunite every child with his or her parents. A reasonable period of time before adoptions are allowed should be one to two years. Afterwards, the people with first priority to adopt should be people in the area of the disaster14 who can provide a stable life for the children. Although parents who lost their children will probably be among the first to want to adopt, they should be screened especially closely to ensure that they are not going to abuse the children to overcome their grief. After possibly three years, uniting children who are definitely orphans with grieving parents, as UNICEF is doing in Sri Lanka14, should help form stable family units that will begin to move past the tsunami. Because children are the hope for the future of their homelands, they should not be adopted internationally unless they cannot be given supportive families at home.
While the children remain in the refugee camps, their education should resume as soon as possible. According to UNICEF, this is possible as soon as 72 hours after the disaster. UNICEF supplies the "School-in-a-Box" with all the materials a teacher needs for two classes of eighty students to limit the amount of time that the education of students is disrupted. These boxes are linguistically and culturally nonspecific so that they can be used in any nation12. By discussing their misfortunes and how to go about their futures at school, the children should begin to work through their grief and begin to rebuild their lives8 more quickly than they would otherwise. Teachers, who would have been educated on how to deal with disasters before the tsunami, should moderate discussions but not interfere. Especially during these sessions of sharing of personal experience, the camp security officers should watch over the children. These times of healing could potentially increase the emotional wounds inflicted on the children if careless outsiders intruded. All possible specialists in childhood mental and physical health should be brought to the children. Since past tsunamis had severe shortages of psychologists, there does not seem to be danger of too many psychologists. According to Sri Lanka's Health Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva, "More than the physical health, the mental health is very necessary because people have been so much traumatised"14. Mental health aid given by professionals and other survivors will help survivors to move on.
In the long term, the children who are affected by the tsunami will need stable lives. Some of the children will be old enough to find jobs and support themselves. Others will have a great deal of their childhood left. These children will ideally need new families. In the absence of a new family, the children will need more permanent shelter than can be provided in the camps. Due to cultural, family structure, and societal differences, shelter and other basic needs of the children should be provided in different ways depending on location.
Searches provided no evidence of close family ties in Peru or orphanages. Most likely, many children would go to work in the coal mines further inland. This would not be ideal, however. A better situation would be small orphanages that are self-sustaining through agriculture and provide education for the children. In this way, the lives of the children would be improved while they helped provide food for themselves and their compatriots. Also, the children would have life skills to support themselves when they grew old enough to leave the orphanages.
In Micronesia, orphanages would not be necessary. Because people have close local family ties as well as more distant relatives, they are able to ask for help in the case of a disaster15. Children who lost their parents would be quickly adopted by relatives. According to Petersen, land and the family structure "undergird and guarantee the very existence of life in Micronesia"15. Therefore, children should have no reason not to go live with their relatives. All that the relief forces must do is help the children contact their families.
Cooperation among the camps, teachers, and children provide the key to returning children back to stable lives. Orphaned children especially can be expected to benefit from well-organized and sanitary camps. Their lives will not resemble their previous lives. However, with proper community support, the children should be able to create new lives for themselves even out of disaster.
1. BBC News. At a Glance: Tsunami Impact. Available online.
2. Tourism Authority of Thailand. New Strategy for the Recovery of Tourism after Tsunami.Available online.
3. The University of Texas Austin: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection's Peru Maps. Thematic Maps: peru-Economic Activity.
4. The World Factbook. Peru. Last updated: November 01, 2005.
5. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: the Statistics Division. "Food and Agriculture Indicators. Country: Peru." Last updated: July 2004
6. The World Factbook. Micronesia, Federated States of. Last updated: November 01, 2005.
7. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: the Statistics Division. "Food and Agriculture Indicators. Country: The Federated States of Micronesia." Last updated: July 2004
8. Kher, U. (2005). Orphaned by the ocean. Time, 165(3), 30.
9. Bellamy, Carol. (2004). UNICEF executive Carol Bellamy responds to the disaster in Asia. UNICEF. Retrieved 18 November 2005.
10. Margesson, Rhoda. (2005). Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami: Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Operations. CRS Report for Congress. Retrieved 15 November 2005.
11. Factsheet: protection and conflict. UNICEF. Retrieved 18 November 2005.
12. Education and recreation. (post-2000). Procuring supplies for children. UNICEF. Retrieved 18 November 2005.
13. Kearney, M. (2005). Tsunami orphans;banda aceh, indonesia. U.S.News & World Report, 138(3), 28.
14. UN urges aid for tsunami orphans. (2005) BBCNews World Edition. Retrieved 17 November 2005.
15. Petersen, G. (2004). The new shape of old island cultures: A half century of social change in micronesia. American Anthropologist, 106(1), 192.
16. Ibarra, A. A., Reid, C., & Thorpe, A. (2000). Neo-liberalism and its impact on
overfishing and overcapitalisation in the marine fisheries of Chile, Mexico and Peru. 25(5), 599-622.
17. Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
(2005). Background notes of countries of the world: Micronesia., 1-5. From the Business Source Premier database.
18. McDevitt, T. (1999). Population Trends: Peru. International Brief, 99-1,
19. People. (2000). Government of the Federated States of Micronesia. Retrieved November 1, 2005.