Experts Warn Liberia Will Soon Be Lost to Sea Erosion
Monrovia – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has warned that more critical infrastructure could be rendered un-usable within the next three to five years if immediate actions are not taken to tackle the evolving sea erosion in coastal counties.
EPA Executive Director Anyaa Vohiri said the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, the key electricity distribution center, the D. Twe High School, the West Point settlement, the Providence Island and a number of market places and transportation infrastructure risked being affected by sea erosion.
Madam Vohiri disclosed that so far, 674 households have been displaced due to sea erosion of coastal settlements and additional 30,000 families stand the risk of being affected, if no urgent action is taken to remedy the situation.
The EPA Executive Director spoke Thursday during the validation of the Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilient Project held at Bella Casa in Monrovia.
The project is in the tune of US$35 million. The money would be sourced from the Green Climate Fund through the project to build coastal defense in West Point, New Kru Town, JFK, and BTC, among others.
In remarks, Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning Tanneh Brunson noted that government attaches seriousness to the project, considering the impacts of climate change on the coastal landscape of Liberia.
According to Madam Brunson, the situation on the coast of Buchanan in Grand Bassa County as well as the coast of Montserrado County are clear examples of climate change that call for collective efforts to adopt and mitigate the effects.
The Deputy Minister told the participants that Liberia has demonstrated its commitment and readiness toward contributing to the global climate change efforts through the ratification of the Paris Agreement, something she said has given Liberia an opportunity to access funding from the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility and others.
For his part, UNDP Country Director Cleophas Torori, said Liberia like most African Coastal countries, is vulnerable to climate change impacts. Mr. Torori said experts project a sea-level rise of 0.13-0.56 meters in Liberia by the 2090s; relative to sea level rise from 1980-1999.
“Liberia is ranked 8th in the world for the percentage of population living in low elevated coastal zones, low human development, low incomes and low coping capacity, thus making the country highly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise and extreme weather events.
“With a sea level rise of 1 meter, West Point, New Kru Town, Rivercess and Robertsport will be affected,” the UNDP boss said.
Also speaking, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Urban Affairs Mr. Stephen Neufville stressed the need for these cities to be saved.
Mr. Neufville: “Following years of Liberia inability to submit its country’s urban report, the bridge has been crossed with Liberia now on track after submitting its urban report to the UN Habitat at a meeting held in Quito, Ecuador.”
He committed the Ministry of Internal Affairs, especially the Department of Urban Affairs to work with the EPA and all stakeholders for the success of the project.
The Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilient Project validation workshop was attended by the relevant line ministries and agencies as well as civil society and environmental NGOs.