erosion has wiped out dozens of homes and left nearly 200 inhabitants
homeless in Buchanan, the second largest city in Liberia, and
government officials say the whole city of 200,000 people is
“The situation is clearly posing a threat to the
entire city. Since 2006 the sea has been gradually encroaching on
Buchanan leaving more than one hundred homes destroyed and displacing
hundreds of people, and it is still getting worse,” Julia
Duncan-Cassell, superintendent of Grand Bassa County said.
She told IRIN if nothing is done immediately, the entire city could be rubbed off the map.
have made several appeals to government and international organisations
to come in and find a way of stopping the ocean, but to no avail. If
nothing is done, I am afraid the whole of Buchanan could be wiped
Coastal erosion is a problem all along Liberia’s
coastline as eight of Liberia’s 15 counties have their main settlements
on the coast. However the culprit is apparently not climate change.
to a joint survey prepared by the Liberian government and the United
Nations Development Programme on the state of the environment in
Liberia two years ago, most of the erosion is caused by unregulated
Liberia’s Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy
Eugene Shannon recently told reporters in Buchanan that people are
looting metal barriers and even rocks that were previously used as sea
“One of the major factors responsible for the
coastal of the coast in Buchanan is the extraction of the breakwaters
which some of the residents are using for construction purposes,”
“As a result of this, the corridor where those
rocks and metals were placed are now opened allowing the sea to hit the
shorelines and devastating homes, which has now affected residents in
The short-term measure would be to dump breakwaters
into the Atlantic Ocean to prevent the ocean from reaching shorelines,
Shannon said. A long-term fix entails a coastal assessment study to
determine the level of risk to our coastal communities – quite a
stretch in a country which has not even completed a national census for
For Buchanan’s struggling fishermen, that assistance is likely to come too late.
of the erosion, we are no longer fishing on a large scale and there is
a shortage of fish locally on the market. How can we catch fish when we
do not have homes to sleep in?” Sundaygar Togba, a fisherman told IRIN.