Wednesday, 6 April 2011


Government, UNDP Hold Townhall Meetings in Erosion prone-communities

Government and the UNDP have been conducting townhall meetings and providing details to Liberians in the counties that are benefitting from the coastline pilot project, on the initiative.
At one of the meetings recently held in Bensonville, Monsterrado County, Deputy Lands, Mines and Energy Minister for planning and development pointed out that as part of the project, thousand feet revetments will be constructed in affected areas including Grand Cape Mount and Grand Bassa Counties.
Carlton Miller said the meetings are providing basic information on the project to the people.
 “We want the people to have a clear understanding of the project and its benefits,” he explained.
But while the UNDP and partners are moving to construct borders to prevent sea erosion, they still face a task of ensuring that people do not engage in activities that will also help to promote sea erosion.
“Beach sand mining is another catalyst for sea-erosion and we have to tell our people about this,” Minister Miller noted.
Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpan described the town hall meeting as a significant step towards providing basic education on the prevention of sea-erosion.
“Giving basic education at this time is important to help our people take precaution to prevent sea-erosion,” she mentioned.
54-year-old James Otto cupped his chin in his right hand as he shook his head repeatedly in the direction of the raging sea in Banjor, Montserrado County.
Otto is the chairman of the fishing community in the area. His posture was a reflection of how down-beat the residents of the Banjor beach community have become since raging sea erosion became a regular visitor to their area over the past three years.
“I am shaking my head as I look towards the sea because I fear the worst with the rainy season just around the corner.
“I just don’t know what is going to happen to the last remaining houses here with the rains knocking on the door,” Otto, with tears rolling from his eyes, wondered as he sat on a canoe, before emphasizing that “the worst might just be around the corner”.
Sea erosion is a common occurrence during the rainy season, which runs from April to November. 
During this season, many persons are made homeless and thousands of dollars worth of properties destroyed in coastal communities such as Buchanan, Grand Bassa, Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount and Banjor, Montserrado Counties.
The UNDP and its partners, including the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, launched a coastal pilot project last year to protect the coastlines in these counties.
The project, a four-year initiative, is aimed at constructing revetments in
these communities to help protect them against sea erosion.
Now that it is being initiated, Juah, a 32 year-old fish seller, is hoping that the beaches of Banjor and Robertsport, which are major fish trading posts, will not experience sea-erosion again.
“We are praying that the project works for us because anytime there is erosion, it affects our purchase of fish from the beaches,” Juah maintained.
She added that as long as they are unable to sell their fish, their homes will also be out of food and other necessities.