Japan tsunami was wake-up call for S. Asia: expert

Image courtesy of Sanjeewa Dayarathne (www.Feedback.lk)

SEOUL, September 29, 2011 (AFP) – Japan’s March tsunami was a wake-up call for Indian Ocean nations still restoring their coastlines after a massive wave struck in December 2004, an expert said Thursday. “This year’s tsunami heightened awareness among all MFF countries that they are still vulnerable,” said Donald Macintosh, senior adviser to a group called Mangroves for the Future (MFF).

“It was a wake-up call, a reminder not to be complacent and to look again at how much progress has been made and assess if they need to do more,” Macintosh told AFP.

MFF, supported by United Nations and other agencies, promotes and funds projects to plant mangroves on vulnerable coastlines as a defence against tsunamis and typhoons.

Macintosh spoke this week at a conference in the South Korean city of Incheon organised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which has called for “nature-based solutions” as Japan rebuilds.

MFF works to safeguard all coastal ecosystems. It adopted mangroves as a flagship project because of the important role they played reducing the impact of the 2004 tsunami, which killed more than 220,000 people.

“Coastal forests, whether pine or mangro