The President of Liberia, George Weah says his government remains committed to working with international partners, like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in helping the people of New Kru Town to prevent the problems of sea erosion.
President Weah praised UNDP for ably managing funds to execute the coastal defense project.
The Liberian Leader was speaking at the launch of the GOL/UNDP Coastal Pilot Project “Enhancing Resilience of Liberia Montserrado County Vulnerable Coastal Area to Climate Change Risks’’ in New Kru Town.
He said the government and partners will do all in their powers to save the D. Tweh High School and the community.
According to him, the school has made and continues to make numerous contributions in impacting and building the capacity of Liberians, many of whom are making significant and positive contributions to the Liberian society.
“We must do our best to succeed because our vision is for us to help our people out of poverty and that is our major concern in running of our government. When you are poor, you will live everywhere because you are looking for that aunty, uncle or family member that you think will help you achieve your dream; and by that, you will experience things. For me it is good to live everywhere, living everywhere gives me the sense of experience for development,” Pres. Weah said.
At the same time, UNDP has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the Government’s Pro-poor and development priority interventions of Liberia.
UNDP Liberia Country Director Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai said evidence available so far from the draft of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) indicates that, environment and climate change issues are integral part of the Government of Liberia’s development priorities.
“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) stands ready to work with the Government and other development partners in supporting these and other priority interventions,” Dr. Beyai said at the launch of the GOL/UNDP Coastal Project in New Kru Town.
He said coastal erosion is increasingly affecting Liberia’s coastal communities, resulting in gradual loss of land, damaged coastal properties, thus threatening the way of life of the affected populations.
“The problem is getting worse by the day, and is compounded by the global climate change, rising and stronger sea waves, increasing storms, sea-surges, and human-made destruction of existing beach fronts through illegal sand-mining, and unconventional fishing practices...All of these have significant negative impacts on the daily lives and livelihoods of the people living along the coast,” the UNDP Boss said.
The US$2 million dollars project seeks to combat the risks of rising sea levels New Kru Town and other coastal communities. It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Government of Liberia (GoL and implemented through UNDP,
New Kru Town has a population of over 20,000 inhabitants. It hosts the second Government referral health facility in Montserrado County – the Redemption Hospital.
As mentioned earlier by the Liberian Leader, the D. Dweh High school which is one of the country’s major public institution is also situated in this Township. This High School has an enrollment of over one-thousand students. In the past few months, the school has been under serious threat from sea erosion.
The school’s fence and several homes located at the back of the building have all been swallowed by the sea surge. Currently, the entire school building including the main auditorium is also being threatened by the sea.
Based on findings from a technical assessment conducted by UNDP/GoL Coastal Project Management Team, a rapid response to the implementation of a holistic, sustainable, low-cost and effective intervention to the sea erosion has become imperative.
Engineers are working to build protective seawalls /revetments to mitigate the situation. The project is also building drainages, constructing docking areas for the fishing community and involved with waste management, beach restoration, and community improvements among others.
To ensure government’s leadership, the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is responsible for the procurement of equipment, rocks, geo-fabric mats, and the services of temporal staff.
UNDP is in charge of hiring the core project staff, including an international coastal engineer; who has completed baseline surveys and recommended appropriate project designs.
Earlier, Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Gesler E. Murray said the coastal add-on project is an approach that is being jointly implemented by his Ministry, EPA and UNDP with the objective to construct 1,200 meter revetment, also known as sea wall to control the effect of sea erosion along the New Kru Town coastline.
Minister Murray said Liberia’s coastal zones are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, adding “we must undertake necessary measures towards prevention and adaptation.”
He explained that the Ministry has prepared and designed an 800-meter revetment for New Kru Town with potential solutions to mitigate the coastal risks identified against long term climate change scenarios that will consider possible solutions to reduce exposure through hard coastal defense structures. He thanked UNDP for the continued support to Liberia’s development.
Meanwhile, UNDP in close collaboration with the EPA; with funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), will shortly undertake a comprehensive baseline study of the coast of Monrovia for the proposed “Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilience Project”. The baseline study aims at tackling critical coastal erosion sites from King Gray in Paynesville to Hotel Africa in Virginia.