Seychelles Post-Tsunami Environmental Assessment : 2005

United Nations Environment Programme (2005)

The Seychelles island group was struck by a series of powerful tidal surges, resulting from the tsunami, generated by the earthquake off Indonesia on 26 December 2004. As a direct consequence of these tidal surges two people lost their lives, and hundreds of families suffered damage to their homes and livelihoods. The effects of the tsunami were compounded by exceptionally heavy rainfall on 29 December, causing flooding, landslides, and tree/rock falls. The Seychelles are globally recognized for the richness of their marine and terrestrial ecosystems, which in turn support the islands’ main economic activities

tourism and fishing. There was concern that in addition to its direct impacts on human communities, the tsunami may have caused damage to the islands’ environmental values, thereby indirectly affecting livelihoods. In response to a request from the Government of the Republic of Seychelles, the UNEP Asian Tsunami Disaster Task Force organized a Rapid Assessment Mission to Seychelles at the beginning of February 2005. The mission team conducted site visits and held meetings with key stakeholders, both governmental and non-governmental, with an interest in management of the islands’ environment and natural resources. The team concluded that the principal environmental impacts had largely been confined to the granitic inner islands, which include the main centres of population on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, with the outer islands apparently escaping relatively lightly due to the physical shelter provided by the Seychelles bank.