JUMP! Kids tumble from a sand bank on Florida Beach in New Kru Town, a borough of estimated 75,000 on the northwest corner of Bushrod Island, Monrovia, Liberia.
School’s out for summer break in New Kru Town. The summer rains leave limited time for outdoor activities. Between storms, kids gather for pick-up games of football on the basketball court of D. Tweh Memorial High School, one of few locations in the community where kids can run and play.
D. Tweh Memorial High School sits perilously close to the Atlantic surf. As a public property, the school is receiving aid to protect the grounds from erosion by sea. A high tide will engulf the first line of rockpile defense. A high tide with storm surge spells trouble for the school. The houses in New Kru Town bordering the Atlantic are in similar peril, but have few resources available to reduce the impact of the rising sea.
“The sea is coming for my house” laments a woman facing imminent destruction of her home as storm surge and tides wash away the beach and nearby homes built on the sands of Popo Beach. “Where will I go? What can I do?” No answer is easy.
A fisherman wraps towlines to a new net in anticipation of another day at sea in the Popo Beach community of New Kru Town. The coastal community faces the Atlantic Ocean with no elevation to spare. It is now and will continue to be gravely impacted by rising sea levels and severe storm surges.
A woman packages pounded and dried cassava powder at her home in New Kru Town. She will likely be selling her products, called gari, at the nearby Duala Market, one of Liberia’s largest outdoor markets, on Bushrod Island.
Two girls wait for fishermen to return from a day fishing off the coast of Monrovia. New Kru Town’s Popo Beach is a fishing community, bringing fresh and smoked fish to markets across Liberia.
Houses undermined by a disappearing beach, some barely habitable before the next storm sweeps them into the sea. They face an encroaching surf along Popo Beach offering no hope of a truce with Mother Nature.
Houses in the path of destruction are stripped of reusable materials to be carried inland and reconstructed in an already overcrowded and desperate community.
New Kru Town community has been meeting with the Liberian government in search of a solution to mitigate the rising sea level destruction. Like most business in the government, the address of these problems moves slowly. With presidential elections now in the spotlight, action on this unfolding disaster is not likely until after the October election. It is doubtful that Liberia has the time and resources to avert this looming environmental catastrophe.
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