been living for decades on  public  land they have not
Debris and Hazardous Materials
had secure tenure and access to basic services.  The
complex problems of their land rights and resettlement
A consequence of the extensive damage and destruction
made their rehabilitation and recovery much harder.
of the built up environment was the large amount of
debris and hazardous materials generated.   With the
Migrant Workers
powerful action of the receding waves, debris was
scattered across the coastal zone to the beaches and
While the tsunami made no distinction between its
into the coral reefs and sea grass meadows.  It is difficult
victims, its effects were magnified for those most
to know the exact amount of debris   the preliminary
vulnerable.   One of these groups was migrant workers,
estimate for Phi Phi Island itself was 30,000 to 35,000
the majority of whom were from Myanmar.  Rough
tonnes.
13
estimates show that at least 7,000 migrant workers
and their dependents were affected by the tsunami.
11
Coral Reefs and Marine and Coastal Habitats
This estimate is based on the number of registered
migrants who were employed in sectors that were
The area affected by the tsunami is home to some of
most damaged: fishing, construction, and tourism.
the world s most diverse coral reef ecosystems,  particu 
However, given that for every registered migrant there
larly from Ranong to Northern Phuket, including the
were an estimated two or more unregistered migrant,
Similan, Surin and Phra Thong Islands.   Approximately
the true number impacted by the tsunami might indeed
13% of the total reef area was significantly impacted
be much higher.
by the tsunami,
14
  with some reefs on the islands  western
coast suffering up to 80% damage.   The reefs were also
In the aftermath of the disaster, migrant workers and
damaged by debris swept away from land by the
their families became particularly vulnerable because
waves.   Some coral heads were removed or dislocated.
of their uncertain immigration status.    Along with their
personal belongings, employment, and income, the
Seagrass beds, an important food source for many
tsunami waves swallowed crucial identification and
threatened animals like the green turtle and dugong,
employment papers.   Without these documents, migrant
were impacted by the siltation and sand sedimentation
workers were left in a worrisome legal limbo.   Instances
caused by the tsunami, but only a small area suffered
of arrests and deportation created concern within the
total habitat loss.
migrant community, causing many to hide or flee inland,
further depriving them of much needed humanitarian
The mangrove forest along the Andaman coast did not
and medical aid.   For others, the fear was so great that
suffer extensive damage, though mangrove forests in
it kept them from going to official mortuaries to identify
Phang Nga and Ranong were impacted.
their relatives.
12
Salt Water Intrusion and Land Subsidence
II Environmental Impact
The tsunami flooded coastal areas up to 3 kilometers
The area affected by the tsunami was home to pristine
inland and surface water was contaminated significantly
I
beaches and spectacular coral reefs, a great attraction
by seawater.   There was some infiltration of seawater
MA
for tourists, a provider of livelihoods to thousands, and
into ground water as well.    The problem of groundwater
NU
a unique and precious natural resource.  Thus, one of
quality was further compounded by the potential
S T
the greatest concerns in the aftermath of the tsunami
contamination from sewage and the large amount of
EH
was the damage inflicted upon the environment.
waste generated by the tsunami.
 TF OTC
PA
 IMEH T
11
 IOM/UNHCR/UNIFEM/WB Technical Assessment Mission report, 20 25 January 2005
 1
12
 International Organization for Migration Contribution to Tsunami One Year Later Report, November 2005
TR
13
 UNEP National Rapid Environment Assessment  Thailand, February 2005
14
PA
 Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
16
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