12 October 2005, Male, Maldives - FAO staff opening packs of ropes at a distribution center managed and funded in a collabortive effort by FAO, Japan and the Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources of the Maldives. FAO Project OSRO/MDV/502/JPN: Assistance for affected coastal communities in Maldives ( - TSU - MDV-05/ER/I02). The overall long-term objective of this project is to contribute to FAO support interventions aimed at assisting the Government of Maldives in its efforts for a rapid re-establishment of sustainable fisheries income-generating activities which were destroyed by the tsunami. The short-term objective (six months January-June 2005), established by the Government of Maldives, consists of providing technical assistance and the distribution of partial inputs to the most vulnerable communities on the islands of the affected atolls. Based on the MFAMR estimate of damages, the immediate repair work in the fisheries industry is now estimated to cost Rf66.43 million (US$5.17 million equivalent). Repair work includes building ten new medium-range vessels, repairs to partially damaged fishing vessels, replacement of lost/damaged fishing gear and engines, replacement of equipment in reef fishery, and replacement of damaged equipment and facilities for Maldives fish production. The short-term needs also include micro credit arrangements for the tsunami-affected cottage processors for their operational capital. Phase I also includes an assessment of impact on reefs and marine resources. The community development approach will be applied to micro credit operations through informal fisher groups.