Monrovia Faces Imminent Disaster

… Monrovia Coastal Engineering Assessment

Preliminary outcome of a study conducted on Monrovia Metropolitan areas has depicted scary pictures of imminent disaster, if actions are not taken to immediately avert coastal erosion in several parts of Monrovia.

Outcome of the ‘engineering and safeguards assessment’ on the coastal area of Monrovia Metropolitan areas released on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Central Monrovia highlighted threats the city face to coastal erosion.

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

CDR is a fully independent coastal, river and port engineering and consultancy firm having 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 line from Hotel Africa in Brewerville to Bernard Beach in Sinkor and it 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 and business opportunities in Liberia.

CDR Founder, Dirk Heijboer disclosed that Monrovia is extremely vulnerable to Sea Level Rise and there is a critical need to develop protection measures to reduce the impacts of climate change.

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

Speaking further at the ceremony which attracted policy makers including President George Weah, Speaker Bhafol Chambers and members of the House of Representatives and Senate as well as Cabinet Members, Heijboer explained that the sea is aggressive and need intervention to avert potential disaster.

He lauded Government of Liberia’s emergency intervention in New Kru Town, but said the intervention needs to be upgraded soon to a sustainable revetment structure by a proper detailed design and well-trained workmanship.

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

He is fascinated that Liberia has rocks in abundant and said unlike other countries that imports rock to build coastal defense.

Displaying pictures captured by drone, he said Liberia coastal areas can be reclaimed and turned into business opportunities.

He 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.

Heijboer stressed the need for urgent action to be taken to prevent the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) substation in West Point from being wash under the ocean and noted it is a ‘high economical value’.

Prior to the presentation made by Heijboer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Executive Director, Hon. Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr said effect of climate change is visible across the country and noted that if appropriate steps are not taken to revert the trend, 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 the road network across the country.

Hon. Blama indicated that coastal erosion would place additional financial burden on the government and said government would spend money on resettling people affected by coastal erosion.

He disclosed that in an effort to address the climate change impact, the Government of Liberia through the EPA wrote a funding proposal to the Green Climate Fund and noted that the proposal was reviewed and found out to be short of some technical details.

As the result of that, the Green Climate Fund asked the EPA to do a new proposal which should include some specific technical detail on the coastal areas, which is being threatened.

Hon. Blama disclosed that to facility the study, the Green Climate Fund provided US$ 800, 000 which was used to hired CDR International to carried-out the ‘engineering and safeguards assessment’ on the coastal area of Monrovia Metropolitan.

He explained that there is a timeline for the execution of the project and disclosed that in February 2019 the funding proposal should be finalized, in March 2019, the finalized proposal should be submitted to the Green Climate Fund.

It is expected that in June 2019, the project proposal would be approved while in September the grant document will be finalized. Inception work on the project activities is expected to kick off on November 2019, the EPA Boss revealed.

He said, Liberia will have to make a commitment to provide some support for the execution of the project as indication of ownership.

President George M. Weah lauded the EPA and the CRD for the study and pledged government unflinching support to the project, which according to him is tied to its pro-poor agenda.

President Weah said the government would do everything possible to safe the country’s coastal areas from erosion even if it means trading its abundant resources to support the execution of the project.

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