Liberia at Serious Risk, but Asleep

This house has simply cracked under pressure. The residents have abandoned it

Facing an Existential Crisis — Our Very Existence Under Threat of Sea Erosion

By L. N. Khumalo

The view of the Atlantic Ocean from Tubman Boulevard on any given day is nothing less than picturesque. On a sunny day, it is a beautiful solid blue.

The walk from the main road to the ocean is probably half a mile long; but not for long. A few years from now, we may just be driving along that coastal highway with the sea in full, unhindered view.

But don’t let that picture fool you. That distance is masking the disaster that lies along Liberia’s coastline.

Go closer; up close and personal. Take a walk along the beach. This is not the picture you saw from the road. This is ugly. It mirrors a war zone. The sea has waged war against Liberia, and Liberia is not fighting back. Mansions that used to exist along the coastline have been battered by the sea as if ravaged by weapons of war.  The coconut trees too have succumbed. Very precious few are left, and the proverbial ax, albeit watery, is already at their very visible roots. It seems by this time next year, they’ll be gone. There will be no sign they were ever even there.

The problem is at least two-fold. For one thing, sea levels are rising worldwide due to melting ice glaciers in the North. At the same time, we in Liberia are exacerbating the problem, almost inviting sea erosion by mining all of the sand that protects our coastline. In fact, on any given day, one can find block-making factories, so to speak, along the coast in what is left of those very houses damaged by the sea!

Where is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Where is the Ministry of Public Works? Where is the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy?

No longer visible are the numerous coconut trees that used to line this coast. The precious few left are also on their way out

Most homeowners seem to have boarded up what is left of their properties and moved elsewhere. Other properties have simply been abandoned and are now contributing to the crime rate. They are being used as ghettos. The graffiti on the walls makes that clear.

Visible on the coast are huge red boulders that have apparently been brought in by the truckload in an effort to solve the problem, but alas, too late. The sea has undermined and passed around the imposing rocks as if to say, “Excuse me please, thank you.”

This is nothing short of an existential crisis. How can we build development if every structure and light pole is to be swallowed up by the sea in a few years’ time? The new ministerial complex, for example, is already under threat before its completion. This calls for a pause, and for a re-thinking of what we have planned for in terms of development. We need help and fast.  Time is running out. How badly do we want it to get before we take action and fight back? Do we want to wake up one morning and find our mattresses gone from under us?

As a matter of fact, many Liberians already live that reality every rainy season and have done so for years.


  1. Liberians, we hope all dangers from the swelling sea water may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise from this swelling sea, would itself be extremely dangerous. Having said this, it is my ardent hope that danger, confronted properly, is not something we must fear. Together, we can overcome any problem.

    The case with this swelling sea water is a global problem, however; we in developing countries, face the lion share of the danger. The great economic powers of the world emit 88% of the world greenhouse gases ( carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons.), etc., emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. The thermal infrared range in physics refers to the RADIATION EXTENDS FROM THE NORMAL RED EDGE. Example: burning charcoal, heat from an electric heater etc. Our (third world countries) contribution toward worming the ozone layer is the thermal infrared gases. If our government can substitute the use of charcoal with another alternative fuel in cooking and minimize the use of electric heater, we will be contributing in a small way in the reduction of greenhouse gas.

    The big powers that own and operate electric power plants, coal mining pits, oil refinery plants and millions of automobile bills, must be aware that, we the small guys are paying a high price to maintain their life styles. Our coastal lines is eroding as fast. Like us look at West Point, New Kru Town, behind Johansen (UN Drive) etc.. Maybe in the next 25 to 30 years, there will be non of these places existing.

    Playing our part in a small and precise way can eliminate the threat of our EXISTENCE. Let us not wait for the big power to play their parts. Liberians, we cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
    From: Auseroooo. home of the Kangaroo

  2. Correction:2nd paragraph 7th line, chorofluorocarbon.), etc. Should be chorofluorocarbon), etc…no footstop. Line 16 : contribution toward worming the ozone layers is. Should be are. Thanks

  3. We have to invest in seawall—can build a seawall boulevard from 20th Street behind JFK all the way to Congo Town back road. This will serve two purposes—protect a core part of Monrovia from erosion and alleviate the traffic congestion on Tubman Boulevard major choke points- i.e. Vamoma, Old Road and going into the new Government Complex in Congo Town.


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