Tsunami Impact: Recommendations made to the Department of Wildlife Conservation

Removal of artificial debris
A large amount of non-biodegradable and artificial debris from structures, boats etc. have been dispersed over a wide area. This is especially severe in the Yala Safari and Browns Beach Hotel areas. All this debris need to be cleared and it was suggested that clearing of such debris by the hotel industry would be a pre-condition to any discussions on re-building.

Monitoring of recovery in different habitat types
As no studies have been done the world over in how a natural eco-system responds to the effects of tsunamis, it was decided that completion of the land survey and setting up a monitoring study is a priority. CCR undertook this task. It was also suggested that a display on the effects of the tsunami be constructed in Yala and that the Yala Park staff be integrated in the monitoring study so that visitors could also observe at first hand the research work that will be conducted.

Monitoring of salinity in inland water bodies
As only a very few fresh water bodies were effected to any degree by the tsunami, it was decided to monitor them and see how the salinity levels change with time. A decision to intervene and breach these water bodies may be taken at a later date if needed.

Clearing for functional needs
Clearing of natural debris for functional needs such as road access and viewing of wildlife could be undertaken as needed. Where such activities were not essential natural recovery should be allowed to proceed.

Removal of opuntia
A number of stands of cactus that were growing near the sea shore were dispersed inland by the tsunami in a few locations. If the dispersed cactus starts growing in the new locations, it could pose a threat to natural plant communities. Therefore, monitoring of such areas and immediate action to remove cactus if there are any signs of growth or spreading were suggested.