Ocean Defense Project in Buchanan Gets Praise

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Buchanan City residents have praised the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Liberia for the ongoing coastal adaptation project being implemented in their city.

The Coastal Adaptation Project (CAP) currently on-going in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, was initially envisaged to be piloted in Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado and Grand Bassa counties. The CAP could not go on as planned due to resource constraints.

The decision for the implementation for the project, which was officially launched in 2010, made by stakeholders for it to be implemented in Buchanan since the threat level was visible in the area. Works commenced in 2012.

Buchanan City is considered one of the worst-hit counties along Liberia’s coastline. Monrovia in Montserrado and Robertsport in Grand Cape Mount, Greenville in Sinoe and Harper in Maryland are also coastal cities. 

The initial project called for a gabion basket and revetment and a plan to do concrete casting for 290 meters, but was later changed to the use of geo-fabric mats, given the high rise in sea level.

Buchanan residents recently told a team from UNDP that the breakwater being constructed along the coastline was greatly reducing the high threat of sea erosion on certain parts of the city.

During a monitoring visit to the site by UNDP Program Team headed by Dorsla Farcarthy of the Sustainable Economic Transformation Pillar, a resident, Emmanuel Smith described the sea as “an enemy that cannot be fought easily”. He said the project will increase the safety of their homes and the city from being entirely wiped away by the sea.

The sea erosion first drew public interest on April 12, 2008, when at least 20 houses were washed away, thereby rendering over 100 people homeless.

Thousands of other homes and properties were also likely to be destroyed if nothing was urgently done to rescue Buchanan. Since the start of the Coastal Project in Buchanan in 2012, 500 meters of the geo-fabric mats have been constructed thus far.

“Had it not been for this project, by now the entire Atlantic Street would be gone along with all the houses around here,” Ayuba Hussein, another resident of the community said.

Hussein said even though the impact of the initial 500 meters breakwater was immensely beneficial to the community, it was equally important for the UNDP to consider elevating the current height of the project.

A third resident, Stephen Williams informed the UNDP team that 3 years ago the land area was 350 feet away from the Ocean but the erosion has taken away nearly all of the land.

“This coastal project has brought some level of calm in the tension that was being experienced by residents, and has significantly reduced high tidal waves from the Atlantic Ocean” Williams noted. He advised the team to ensure that the project is heightened to a level where the land can be fully protected and warned that if the rocks remain at the current level, there’s a high risk of being undermined by the ocean.

UNDP Engineer Donald G. Kokeh said the current 500 meters of breakwater revetment in Buchanan is an interim measure aimed at mitigating the impact of the erosion and flood from the Atlantic Ocean.

“We still have additional 100 meters to complete the project” Kokeh said.

Due to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the country, work on the site declined. But with visible improvements made in the Ebola fight, the project will soon re-commence.

The coastal project is very critical to the residents of Buchanan and the people of Liberia because it is about saving lives and properties, while at the same time safeguarding the livelihood opportunities for locals in the area.

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