News / Africa

    Sea Erosion Leaves Thousands of Liberians Homeless

    FILE - A young boy looks out from the window of his dilapidated home on the beach facing the Atlantic Ocean where his family lives in Monrovia, Liberia.
    FILE - A young boy looks out from the window of his dilapidated home on the beach facing the Atlantic Ocean where his family lives in Monrovia, Liberia.
    Jennifer Lazuta

    The homes and businesses of thousands of poor people living on Liberia's coast are being swept away by rising sea levels. Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency says a project is underway to help stop the erosion, but that there is not enough funding.  

    “The situation is terrible. The sea erosion has taken away our homes," said Joe Muffer, who lives in Grand Bassa County’s Buchanan City, one of several areas that have been badly affected by the erosion.

    "Right now, we have had to relocate my family to an abandoned school building because as you can see the sea erosion is still tough. The sea is rising every day, every moment. We are in dire need of help right now," he explained.

    Offshore sea walls

    Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency is aware of the problems the rising sea levels are causing and has been working to control the erosion.

    Stephen Y. Neufville, deputy executive director of the EPA, said, “The first phase of the project is ongoing. There have been some drawbacks, but we are responding to the impact of the sea encroaching on the city, and therefore putting boulders and other things to minimize the impact.”

    Neufville said the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has spent $6 million on various projects throughout the country to reduce the negative effects of climate change, including sea erosion.

    He said $2.4 million is being spent for the ongoing phase I, which is constructing offshore sea walls to help stop the waves from further eroding the shore.

    But Liberia’s steering committee on sea erosion estimates that at least $18 million will be needed to complete the project.  

    Residents, meanwhile, have been building protective sandbag barriers in front of their homes to keep the sea water at bay. For many, however, this has not been enough.

    Tom Okai, who lost his home to the ocean earlier this year, said that more needs to be done to help both the victims and those still at risk.

    “We do not have anywhere to go. We have been asking our local government and the international [community] to see if they can help the government to help us," said Okai. "Our houses have been around for years and right now the government is not putting money anywhere.  So we are getting discouraged.  We do not know what to do and we do not know where to start from because we do not think the government sees us.”

    Relocation efforts

    Authorities say that they have tried to get people living in the most vulnerable areas to relocate, but most refuse to leave, because the government is unable to offer resettlement packages.

    Neufville said residents who have been forcibly removed often return to rebuild, or else settle illegally in neighboring high-risk zones.

    “People have to be mindful where [they] construct buildings. You need to get the necessary permits," he said. "We stop people from building in waterways, encroaching on the drainages, but nobody pays attention.”

    Neufville said the EPA continues to meet to discuss new strategies for fighting sea erosion, as well as search for more funding.

    Prince Collins contributed to this report from Monrovia.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.