Breakwater Construction reduces threat of sea erosion to Port City

Most Port City Residents depend on fishing as a source of Livelihood

The coastal project supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funds from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) which is managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is very critical to the residents of Buchanan in Grand Bassa County 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.

Highlights

  • The construction of the Breakwater Revetment System has so far cumulatively achieved 83%.
  • 500 of the targeted 600 meters have been completed.
  • Residents say the breakwater being constructed along the coastline was greatly reducing the high threat of sea erosion on certain parts of the city.

Buchanan is considered one of the worst-hit counties along the coastline (there is also Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount). The initial project called for a gabion basket and revetment and a plan to do concrete casting for 600 meters, but was later changed to the use of geo-fabric mats, given the high rise in sea level.

The Coastal Adaptation Project currently on-going in Buchanan was initially envisaged to be piloted in 3 counties (Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado and Grand Bassa) but could not go on as planned due to resource constraints.

The construction of the Breakwater Revetment System in Buchanan has so far cumulatively achieved 83% of the target of the 600 meters after 500 meters were constructed, with the remaining 100 to be completed before the end of this year 2016.

The project was officially launched in 2010 and a decision was made by stakeholders for it to be implemented in Buchanan since the threat level was visible in the area. Work officially commenced in 2012.

Some residents of the Port City of Buchanan have expressed gratitude and appreciation to UNDP and the Government of Liberia through the Lands Mines and Energy Ministry for the ongoing coastal adaptation project being implemented in the county.

Residents said that the breakwater being constructed along the coastline was greatly reducing the high threat of sea erosion on certain parts of the city.

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 out 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 one hundred people homeless.

Thousands of other homes and properties were also likely to be destroyed if nothing was urgently done to rescue Buchanan.

“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 the impact of the initial 500 meters breakwater was immensely beneficial to the community. He however appealed to UNDP to extend the project beyond the 600 meters.

A third resident, Stephen Williams recalled 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 Ocean” Williams noted.

UNDP Engineer Donald G. Kokeh has reassured the community that the breakwater has been designed to mitigate the impact of the erosion and flood from the Atlantic Ocean. 

"This project is designed to integrate the uncertainty in the high sea level. 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.