UNDP provides aid for coral clean-up


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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided aid to Thailand to help them to clean-up coral reefs which were devastated by the recent tsunami.

The UNDP has provided Thailand's Department of Marine Resources (DMR) with a number of items of equipment including a vehicle, boat trailer, rubber speed boat, underwater cameras and lift bags and lots of diving equipment.

The Department is also looking for volunteer divers to help clean the debris from the reefs which are littered with rubbish washed out to sea during the tsunami.

Hakan Bjorkman, the Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP in Thailand said that it is important to clear the reefs quickly so they, and the businesses that depend on them can recover.

"We've seen suitcases, kitchen sinks, deck chairs and hotel backwash sitting on the reefs.

"This kind of unusual debris calls for special clean-up care. We are working quickly to get the Department of Marine Resources the tools they need to clear these reefs.

"Coral reefs along the Andaman coast are not only a habitat for marine life, essential to the livelihoods of local fishermen, they are also a crucial source of income for the Thai tourism industry."

A recent assessment of the reefs by the UNDP, the World Bank and the The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has found that reefs in many parts of Thailand have suffered severe damage.

"The team found that main problem areas include South Patong Beach in Phuket with 20 percent damage, and Koh Pai and Rana Bay in the Phi Phi Islands with 40-50 percent damage.

"It was also noted that the Similan Islands suffered extreme sedimentation damage from sand displaced onto the corals. If not cleaned, the heavy sand will eventually kill these corals."