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Liberia: EPA Scouts US$40M for Coastal Defense as Government Plans to Evacuate Residents of West Point

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EPA Boss chairing a meeting with residents of West Point and representatives of line ministries and agencies

MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia has finally resolved to evacuate the township of West Point amidst imminent threats pose by the Atlantic Ocean.

Several homes were washed under the ocean a fortnight ago in the slum, thus causing residents to stage a protest on Tuesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the President’s office is situated. 

The decision for residents to relocate was made public on Wednesday, 13 August 2019 by the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama during a meeting with citizens’ representatives and advocacy groups at the EPA office on 4th Street, Sinkor.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of line Government of Liberia ministries and agencies including National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), and the Ministry of Public Works.

Dr. Blama said that the decision for residents to relocate from West Point was necessary to avert lives from being lost by the imminent danger posed by the sea.

He noted that a team comprising representatives of the Ministry of Public Works, NDMA and the EPA will immediately begin a mapping exercise in the township to determine red and green zones.

“We will come to assess the place. We don’t want people to be in danger,” ED Blama said.

According to him, people whose homes would fall within the red zone will have to leave the township.

He disclosed that the EPA is sourcing funding from its international partners to erect a coastal defence in West Point.

According to the EPA Boss it will cost US$ 40 million to secure the entire West Point from sea erosion.

Speaking further, he indicated that the US$ 40 million is not going to come from the Government of Liberia.

“The government has small resources with lot of priorities,” Dr. Blama added.

Also speaking at the meeting, Jeremiah G. Sokan, Coordinator of the National Climate Change Secretariat expressed hopes that the money will be secured for the construction of the coastal defence in West Point.

Mr. Sokan said although there are hopes that the money will be secure residents will have to leave danger spots in the township.

 “We can’t stop the ocean, but we want to safe your lives first. We don’t want the people to die.

In a prior statement, EPA Manager of Compliance and Enforcement, John Jallah said no work can be done in the area because the “aggression from the sea will have to subside before we do anything in the township.”

Jallah’s statement was buttressed by Berexford Jallah who said any intervention in West Point must be based on science.

In a brief Powerpoint presentation, Berexford disclosed that West Point stand the risk of being wash completely under the ocean. In a related development, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) on Wednesday provided 100 of 50Kg bags of rice, 100 cartoons of assorted items including toiletry and 30 pieces of mosquito bed nets to the leadership of the township for distribution among affected residents.

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