The Chief Executive Officer of the Coastal Development Authority (CODA), Jerry Ahmed Shaib, has urged residents in areas threatened by coastal erosion to be open to government interventions in terms of relocation.
Speaking in an interview on Citi TV yesterday, Mr Shaib noted that “relocation is key” to the Coastal Rejuvenation Initiative.
According to him, the major solution for the affected communities in the Volta Region is to relocate them to a higher and safer settlement away from the havoc of the sea.
“…If you are going to allow the government to take the necessary steps, including relocating people, including pursuing the green agenda… and ensuring that sea defences are also well-built, I think we will get somewhere,” he said
He disclosed that, for example, in the Ketu South District, there were plans for new settlements for people in at-risk communities to relocate to.
He said the government can erect the sea defence wall, and the sea will still breach it to flood the homes of residents of the area, especially at this period where global warming is having its effect on the world.
“There has, however, been some pushback from residents in affected communities who are not fully convinced by the relocation option,” he revealed, assuring that there is a medium-term plan being rolled out with funding for assemblies to start construction of some 100 houses.
This, he stated, is going to be a two-bedroom facility for the small island they are going to be on and which is optional.
The Chief Executive Officer also noted that government is already giving them support in the form of subsidized outboard motors, construction of about 11 landing beaches and some harbours in Keta and Jamestown.
He indicated that some inhabitants are referring to superstition in getting glued to the very communities that are eating them up, cautioning that such references of ancestral connection to the sea or shrine or particular setting are issues that are bedevilling the conversation to relocate people, but added these are still choices that residents must make.
In his opinion, the worst case scenario where global warming is at its worst, the sea defence project might not be of much help, and that, ultimately, the whole idea of relocating victims to higher grounds should be a better alternative.
Some communities in the Volta Region were hit by tidal waves and flooding over the weekend. As a result, residents were stranded at Agavedzi and some adjoining communities in the Ketu South Municipality.
The flooding also affected parts of the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem Municipality in the Central Region and Shama in the Western Region, with some households being displaced.