Tsunami 2004 Ecological Impact



Ecological impact of the Asian tsunami 2004 will take a long time and significant resources to assess

and regenerate. Hours before the Indian Ocean tsunami, people reported seeing elephants and flamingos heading for higher ground. Dogs and zoo animals refused to leave their shelters.

The December 2004 tsunami destroyed coral reefs, mangrove forests and seaweed beds. Little could be done to help damaged coral reefs except to be patient and let nature takes its natural course. Mangrove forests provide an important spawning area for fish. An effort was made to replant mangrove forests. Communities protected by intact fringing reefs such as the Maldives and Mauritius, and protective mangrove forests such as parts of India, suffered much less damage than areas that didn’t have these protective features.

National Geographic reported: “Off the north end of Sumatra, the landmass nearest the quake’s epicenter , waves damaged some 60,000 acres of mangroves, 30 percent of the coral reefs, and 20 percent of the sea grass beds—all vital fish habitats. Other grave problems stem from the onslaught of seawater laden with sediments and toxins. Aquifers, the primary source of drinking water, have been contaminated by salt water, raw sewage, oil and other pollutants. On the coasts of Indonesia and Sri Lanka paddies and farm fields are smothered under a crust of salt and silt. Some areas may never recover. National Geographic, April 2005