Gov’t Asks Residents To Evacuate West Point

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Dr. Blama chairs a meeting with residents and representatives of line ministries and agencies in West Point.

…As EPA Seeks US$40M funding to erect coastal defense

Due to violent wave action of the Atlantic Ocean, which now threatens residents of beaches in Monrovia, the government on Wednesday, August 14, 2019, finally resolved to evacuate residents of the township of West Point amid imminent threats posed by the Ocean, a release has said.

Several homes were washed under the ocean a fortnight ago in the slum community, thus causing residents to stage a protest on Tuesday, August 13 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the President’s office is located.

According to the release, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) executive director, Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama, made public the decision to relocate the residents during a meeting at EPA’s office in Monrovia with citizens’ representatives and advocacy groups.

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

Dr. Blama said that the decision to relocate residents from West Point was necessary to avoid the loss of lives by the imminent danger to the community by the violent sea.

He said 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, because we don’t want people to be in danger,” Dr. Blama said. According to him, people whose homes would fall within the red zone will have to leave the township.

Blama said that the EPA is sourcing funding about US$40 million from its international partners to erect a coastal defense in West Point and also secure the entire township from erosion.

He said that that the US$40 million is not going to come from the Government of Liberia, “because government has small resources with lot of priorities.”

EPA’s Coordinator for the National Climate Change Secretariat, Jeremiah G. Sokan, expressed the hope that the money will be secured to construct the coastal defense in West Point.

Sokan said although there are hopes that the money will be secured, residents will have to leave those areas considered “dangerous spots” in the township.

“We cannot stop the ocean, but we want to save your lives first. We don’t want the people to die,” he said.

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

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 said that West Point stands the risk of being wash completely under the ocean.

In a related development, NDMA on Wednesday provided 100 bags of rice, 100 cartoons of assorted items, including toiletry and 30 pieces of mosquitoes bed nets to the leadership of the township for distribution among affected residents.

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