14 Dec 2009

Debris cleared from American Samoa reefs

4:11 pm on 14 December 2009

A team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has removed tonnes of debris threatening coral reefs adjacent to villages in American Samoa badly affected by the tsunami.

The 15 member team's mission was to do a complete assessment of the damage to coral reefs.

But after seeing what was underwater they realised the debris suffocating corals needed to be removed right away.

Kris McElwee, the Pacific Islands Programme Coordinator, says this is to prevent further damage to the reefs during the cyclone season:

"As that debris moves around in big waves or storms it can continue to do more damage to the coral reef and that resource is so important to the people of American Samoa. Some of the things they've seen most of is tryres, pieces of corrugated metal roofing material and fabric including bedsheets and clothing, tarps things like that. There is also a wide variety of household goods"