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6 January 2005, 04:31 pm
BMF Spearheads Tsunami Disaster Fundraising Appeal
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Tsunami Disaster
London, Great Britain

The British Marine Federation will be using the Schroders London Boat Show, taking place over the next 11 days, as a platform to appeal to the marine industry, as well as encourage visitors, to raise money to support those affected by the tsunami disaster.
Marine companies are being asked to donate equipment to facilitate the marine effort. Cash and cheque collection points have been placed throughout the show.

The fundraising is part of an international marine support effort supported by ICOMIA (the International Committee of Marine International Associations.)

Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have been worst affected by the towering tsunamis created by a powerful earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, centred off north Sumatra, in the Indian Ocean. Africa, a continent away, was not spared either. In all, over 200,000 people are dead or missing. Five million are displaced, without the basis for survival.

Experts estimate that more than a million fishermen in Sri Lanka's north east may have lost their livelihoods in the tsunami, with many fishermen in the region now too afraid to return to sea.

In all it is believed that around 25,000 fishing and passenger boats have been destroyed in the disaster. Rough estimates put the number of fishing and passenger boats destroyed in Indonesia at around 9,600; India, 6,000; Sri Lanka, 5,000; Thailand, 3,120; and around 50 in Malaysia.

Marinas in Phuket, located on the east and north-eastern part of the island, experienced strong surges but were otherwise unharmed. The island of Langkawi in Malaysia, was less lucky. While the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club escaped unscathed, Telaga Harbour and Rebak Marina were destroyed. Miraculously, few yachts were sunk even though this is the high season. The highly popular Phuket King's Cup attracted a large fleet earlier in December, and this is also the time of year that circumnavigators gather at the top end of the Straits of Malacca waiting for the weather window to head west across the Indian Ocean.

In addition to damaged boats and engines, many local boatyards, service facilities and mooring jetties have been destroyed or badly damaged, reducing the capacity for local industry to self-replenish. Marine based eco-tourism is an important and growing part of many local coastal economies and this sector too will need assistance with new boats and infrastructure to re-establish commerce.

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