2 A timeframe for agricultural recovery

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Key points

  • Immediate activities (within 6 months) after a tsunami:
    • Clean up waste and debris.
    • Survey land levels.
    • Train agricultural staff in soil and water assessment and observation.
  • Short-term activities (3–12 months) after a tsunami:
    • Communicate with local farmers, especially women.
    • Coordinate advice and planning.
    • Repair irrigation and drainage infrastructure.
    • Train agricultural staff and farmers in rehabilitation methods.
    • Avoid establishing crops on saline land.
    • Incorporate shallow sediments into the soil.
    • Remove deep or highly saline sediments.
    • Use irrigation water (or rainfall) to flush salt from the soil.
    • Investigate other methods of producing income in rural areas.
    • Establish home food gardens.
  • Long-term activities (> 12 months) after a tsunami:
    • Transfer technology and knowledge to farmers.
    • Maintain training programs for agricultural staff and non-government organisations.
    • Monitor plant nutrition and crop health.
    • Monitor the long-term health of tree crops, which might be affected by seasonal fluctuations in saline groundwater levels.
    • Expand support and training to surrounding areas less affected by the tsunami.
On Wungga Island, coconuts have been planted on new land created from uplift after the earthquake.

Photo: Kerry Sieh, Singapore Earth Observatory

Following a tsunami, some issues will require immediate action, some will take 12 months or longer to address, and others will need managing in the long term. The recovery timeframe for agricultural production outlined in this section is based on experiences in Aceh. Under different conditions, the timeframe may differ from the one presented here. Details about specific tasks relating to assessment and restoration of soil and water, crop management, and other activities to aid the recovery of agriculture can be found in Sections 3, 4 and 5 of this guide.


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