| ||Thailand, at the heart of Southeast Asia, has about 63 million inhabitants on a 514 000 km2 territory. It is one of the most prosperous countries in Asia. However, its dependence on a monoculture has made it extremely vulnerable to world rice price fluctuations and production variations. The Thai government has tried hard to make the country stronger by diversifying the economy. Like farmers, Thai fishermen have always had to face extreme weather conditions. But these difficulties were at their worst on December 26 2004 because of an earthquake of magnitude 8.9 as measured on the Richter scale that shook the Indian Ocean and the north of the Indonesian island, Sumatra. Eight Asian countries and five African countries were affected by the tsunami (from the Japanese tsu, port and nami, wave) which devastated coasts. In certain areas, 98% of mangroves where fish, crab and shrimp reproduce were damaged.
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