Monrovia – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has held a validation workshop for the Monrovia Metropolitan Coastal Resilience Project that seeks to address the issue of the rapid sea erosion taking place at the Township of West Point.
Report by J. H. Webster Clayeh, [email protected]
West Point is a township (the administrative equivalent of a city ward) of the Liberian capital city of Monrovia, located on a peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean between the Mesurado and Saint Paul Rivers.
It is also home to approximately 75,000 people; West Point is one of Monrovia’s most densely populated slums.
In recent years, the issue of erosion in West Point has been a serious problem for inhabitants living there. In August year, more than 75 homes were reportedly washed away by the violent sea waves.
The Costal Resilience Project, if completed will save the township from its continuous nightmare.
Speaking at the validation workshop Thursday, September 5, 2019 at the Millennium Hotel in Congo Town, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr. stressed that the issue of sea erosion is a serious challenge that his entity is faced with.
According to him, West Point was initially not a priority for the EPA when it comes to saving coastal communities from erosion. He said Buchanan City, New Kru Town and Hotel Africa were the three areas that were on their list of emergency.
However, as the EPA was trying to do pilots project in Buchanan and New Kru Town, West Point’s sea erosion became too dangerous to ignore.
“Things have shifted and have put West Point as a priority. So, we got to act now,” Mr. Blama said.
Unlike Buchanan City and New Kru Town where pilot projects took place, Blama says the EPA along with other lines ministries coupled with developmental partners have conducted some feasibility studies regarding the rapid sea erosion in West Point.
“We have all the technical data that are going to change things in West Point. What we did in Buchanan and New Kru Town was pilot projects, we were testing something,” EPA Boss said.
Executive Director Blama added: “To the people of West Point, those of you that have been suffering, help is on the way.”
“It is not only about West Point, it’s about the Mesurado River. If West is wiped out; it’s going to affect the Mesurado River and what more about the small, small nearby communities.”
Blama also expressed his ordeal with the Legislators whenever he is justifying his entity’s budget at the august body.
He called on state actors to support the protection of the environment before it encounters any major national disaster.
“So, it a call to all of us, because if one national disaster takes place it could alter our entire National Budget,” he said.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) Henry O. Williams said disaster is very critical, adding that there is a need for more attention to curb the situation in West Point.
According to the NDMA Boss, his entity is often blamed for the disasters that occur around the country.
For his part, the Assistant Minister for Operation at the Ministry of Public Work KauStella Kialain says Liberia has a beautiful coastal line but has to be protected for the safety of its citizens.
“It is something that needs to be addressed. We cannot have our citizens to be so much at risk. There are many houses that are being washed away. We got to stop it,” Assistance Minister Kialain said.