Friday, July 1, 2011

Sea-erosion Response Must Be Void Of Politic...

Sea-erosion Response Must Be Void Of Politic, Unnecessary Spendings And Impact Lives
On the south of Liberia is Buchanan, the third largest city in Liberia. As a coastal city, it has a wide collection of lagoons and beaches.
Buchanan, also known as ‘Gbezohn’ was founded in 1832, by black Quakers who established the colony and named it Port Cresson after their financier, a Philadelphian merchant who supported the endeavor.
According to the website freewikipedia, this colony only lasted a few years, however, as resentful ethnic tribal members demolished it. The new colony that was founded to replace it was then named Bassa Cove, for the name of the tribe that had formerly attacked it. Bassa Cove managed to prevail better than its predecessor, and in April of 1893 was annexed to Liberia.
The city was then named after Thomas Buchanan, the first Governor of Liberia and a cousin of former American President James Buchanan.
The city that once served as a major economic center as Monrovia is also the birth place of former Liberia’s President, Daniel E. Howard who served from 1912-1920. Buchanan city saw the exports and shipments of iron ore, palm oil and rubber from other parts of the country.
According to the 2008 National Housing and Population Census, Buchanan has a population of 34,270 (16,984 males and 17,286 females) and lies 70 miles (110 km) from Monrovia.
But, the residents of the once beautiful port city are said to be living in fear that the city is gradually being swallowed by sea-erosion daily.
Several streets and homes in the city have already been swallowed by the troubling wave of sea-erosion.
One major street on the verge of being swept away is the Atlantic Street.
This street houses several facilities, including major intertainment centers in the city and headquarters of the opposition Liberty Party (LP) Grand Bassa branch.
Already an entire town in the county is also on the verge of collapsed as the sea last week (June ) destroyed over fifteen (15) shelters and randered several persons homeless.
Bardeh-waleh is a fishing town that lies upper Buchanan city along the Atlantic Ocean with over two thousand inhabitants.
The sea has vertually destroyed almost half of the town leaving more then 217 persons, including women and children homeless, Bardeh-waleh community chairman, Pastor John Mensah said.
Mensah said since the start of the sea-ersion in 2007, the Liberian Government conducted accessement of the level of damage caused by the erosion and promised to address the situation.
He said since the promise was made, nothing concrete has been done by the government to address the problem that continues to destroy homes.
The residents, most of whom are fishermen have however expressed willingness to be relocated to a fishing-friendly environment in the county.
Another fisherman, Kweku Mensah, father of more then 30 children by three wives who have lived in the community since 1955 said, they, as fishermen, depend on the sea for their livelihood, and as such, would not be willing to move to an area that is not condusive for fishing.
Madam Mary Asmah, mother of six children and a widow, one of the many victims said she and her children were sleeping in a church building.
“…Only God can provide for me and my children, because I don’t have anybody to help me…so, I want the government to help me,” the widow who appeared sick said.
The County Director of the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) and Focal Person for the Steering Committee on the Coastal Project said some funds have been made available to help address the situation.
Mr. Isaac Guah said initial funding for the four years coastal defense project in the tone of US$3.3 million was provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
GEF, founded in 1991, is an independent financial organization that provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants, in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues.
GEF partners with 10 agencies including the UN Development Programme; the UN Environment Programme; the World Bank; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization; the UN Industrial Development Organization; the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel provides technical and scientific advice on the GEF’s policies and projects.
Mr. Guah said with the exception of UNDP which has also provided US$400,000.00, no other UN agency have made available any money for the project.
The Focal Person noted that the Government of Liberia has also allocated in the current budget US$1.5 million toward the project.
Several allocations have already been made on how the money will be expended for the project.
An amount of US$10,827.10 has been allloted for training of technicians and the development of data storage/analysis strategy, S$6,496.50 for basic equipment for data collection; US$5,000.00 for meetings/workshops, among others.
These activities are expected to be carried out beginning July to September this year.
The delay in the actual and immediate implementation of the four years project is intended to score a political goal in the up-coming elections by some politicians.
The issue of the sea-erosion needs urgent response to impact the lives of the people who are being affected by this disaster and should be void of politic and unnecessary spendings, shuch as workshops that will have no impact on the lives of the affected women and children.
Brief background about Liberia’s Drainage
Liberia is well-watered by six major rivers and numerous small ones. These rivers and their many tributaries have developed into a dense drainage system with a dendrite pattern.
This drainage system has been determined by the geological structure and by the general slope of the relief of the country. Rivers in Liberia glow from northwest to southeast except the Cavalla River and its tributary, the Dougbe River which flows northeast to south.
Majority of Liberian Rivers originate in Guinea. The six major rivers in Liberia are Cavalla, Cestos, St. John, St. Paul, Lofa and Mano Rivers.

The equatorial position and the distribution of high and low pressure belts over the African Continent and the Atlantic Ocean determine the climate of Liberia and move generally of West Africa. Because of this position and the moderating influence of the nearby Atlantic Ocean, there is a fairly warm temperature throughout the year with a very high humidity.
Seasons in Liberia are not determined by changing temperature because it is fairly warm throughout the year, but by the prevailing precipitation (rainfall).
Therefore, a rainy (wet) and dry (sunny) seasons can be differentiated.
The Liberian coastline runs approximately from southeast to northwest and at right angles to the prevailing southwesterly rain bearing winds... As the maritime air reaches the coast, it is forced to rise, it cools and condensation takes place which causes the extremely heavy rainfall.
The average annual rainfall near the coast amounts to 4770 mm. Towards the interior, the amount of rainfall decreases to an average annual of 2080 mm.
The rainy season begins in April and ends in October, while the dry season is from November to March. Because of the equatorial position of Liberia, the sun is almost directly overhead at noon throughout the year, and insulation is very intense in all parts of the country.
Therefore, high temperatures with very little monthly variations should be expected.
Along the coast the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean has a very moderating effect on temperature; annual and daily variations are evenly balanced, while towards the interior, the continental influence becomes more dominant, the range of temperature widens.
It is difficult to quote figures for temperature, since they vary considerably with location and altitude; but 27oC to 32oC and 23oC to 28oC at night seems to be fairly representative.
The influence of the equatorial maritime air masses causes the very high humidity in Liberia.
Relative humidity ranges from 90 percent to 100 percent during the rainy season. (Source: The COASTAL ZONE VULNERABILITY
AND ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN LIBERIA of the Environmental Protection Agency EPA)
Writes, Sam Zota, Jr. (through a jhr/LMC support)July 1, 2011, The News Newspaper

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