Tormented by the Sea

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Many residents in New Kru Town believe that there is no end to their troubles, as last Friday, May 30, violent waves surged early in the morning to force them from their homes.

“This is like a curse from nature,” a distraught woman told the Daily Observer, as she waddled through the water. “It happens every year,” she added.

She said the sea had not been rough the previous night till early in the morning when the waves increased and water began to enter their compound and eventually into their rooms.

Another resident complained, “We are in the rainy season; and as usual this is the time we are tormented by the sea.”

Sea erosion is part of the struggle that beach communities experience. The currently affected communities are Popo Beach, Colonel West, and the Lagoon.

During our visit, houses and rooms were flooded, as the waves in that early morning moved back and forth.

 “We’ll soon enter in June where the rains [are] heavier,” another resident told the Daily Observer, “I think we will have to move away from here for good.”

During a brief tour of the affected areas, many residents were seen with mattresses on their heads, as well as clothes and other household materials that could be moved to safety.

A mother of five told the Observer that she did not have anywhere to go with her children.

“I am simply displaced,” she said dejectedly. “What can I do for myself and my children?”

But the most affected residents are the many workers of the Liberia Maritime Authority’s Beaches and Waterways Project,  who said they have not been able to make decisions to find further accommodation due to the failure of the Government of Liberia to pay them their four-month arrears.

The project was intended to maintain healthy beaches, since due to the war, most residents use the beaches to answer to nature’s call (otherwise known as 'open defecation'). But with the Beaches and Waterways Project the situation has changed and the beaches are maintained by the workers.

“With money I can go and look elsewhere for a place to stay,” one of the workers said, “but since we have not been paid and we hardly hear when we’ll be paid, I don’t know what to do.”

With the rains coming in full force in June and the months to come, beach residents are worried about their future.

“June and July months will be our hell on earth,” an elderly resident said.

Many of those interviewed appealed to the Government of Liberia, political parties and humanitarian agencies to come to their rescue, while Beaches and Waterway workers urged the government to settle their arrears.

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