Monrovia Threatened by Rising Sea Level, Others

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Monrovia faces several threats, including sea level rise, changes in the wave climate and wave height.

-Monrovia coastal engineering assessment

A preliminary outcome of a study conducted on Monrovia Metropolitan areas has depicted frightening projections of an imminent disaster, if actions are not taken to immediately avert coastal erosion in several parts of the city, a release from authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.

Outcome of the “engineering and safeguards assessment” on the coastal area of Monrovia Metropolitan areas released on Tuesday, November 6, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted threats the city faces due to coastal erosion.

According to the release, the study was conducted by Coasts, Deltas and Rivers (CDR) International under the Monrovia Climate Resilient Program (MMCRP), funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) High Level Inception Meeting.

CDR is a fully independent coastal, river and port engineering and consultancy firm which has its roots in the Netherlands.

The company is focusing on project development, management, design and engineering services in particular in the marine and maritime sector worldwide.

The study conducted covered a total of 13,400 squad lines from Hotel Africa in Brewerville to Bernard Beach in Sinkor and was intended to assess the feasibility of coastal protection or vulnerability mitigation measures.

It was also intended to identify benefits of measures, including Pro-Poor Agenda and business opportunities. CDR founder, Dirk Heijboer, said that Monrovia is extremely vulnerable to Sea Level Rise and that there is a critical need to develop protection measures in order to reduce the impact of climate change.

In a PowerPoint presentation at the ceremony, which was intended to launch the preliminary assessment report, Heijboer said that the city faces several threats, including sea level rise, changes in the wave climate and wave height.

The ceremony attracted policy makers, including President George Weah, Speaker Bhofal Chambers and some members of the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as Cabinet ministers.

Heijboer explained further that the sea is aggressive and need intervention to avert a potential disaster. He lauded government’s emergency intervention in New Kru Town, but said the intervention needs to be upgraded soon to a sustainable revetment structure by a proper and detailed design as well as well-trained workmanship.

This, according to him, would avoid losing rock material and near-future localized breaching. He added that “a proposal for this has been submitted.”

Heijboer is fascinated that Liberia has rocks in abundance, unlike other countries that import rock to build coastal defenses.

While displaying pictures captured by drone in the field, he said Liberia’s coastal areas can be reclaimed and turned into business opportunities.

Heijboer made specific reference to the seafront at John F. Kennedy Hospital in Sinkor, and said the place can be turned into a business hub which would generate resources for the country.

He stressed the need for urgent action to prevent the Liberia Electricity Corporation substation in West Point from being washed under the ocean, “because of its high economical value.”

Prior to Heijboer’s presentation, the EPA executive director, Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr., said effects of climate change is visible across the country.

Blama said that if appropriate steps are reverted, three keys sectors, including health, agriculture and forestry, would be badly affected.

He predicted that coastal erosion would decrease agriculture production and impact health and road network across the country.

Mr. Blama said that coastal erosion would place additional financial burden on the government, because it would spend money on resettling people affected by erosion.

It is expected that in June 2019, the project’s proposal would be approved, while in September the grant document will be finalized.

Inception work on the project’s activities is expected to begin in November 2019, he said. President Weah lauded the EPA and the CRD for the study, and pledged government’s unflinching support to the project which, according to him, is tied to the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda.

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