Plantain Island, Kagboro Chiefdom, Moyamba District, 3 February 2022 – Following concerns received by the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) relating to serious erosion on Plantain Island, the NDMA through its Directorates of Risk Reduction and Preparedness, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation and Communications, in partnership with Climate Change Specialist, Paul Murphy-working with WFP-visited the Island to assess the magnitude of the erosion and its effect on the Island.
Initial findings by the visiting team proves that there is no evidence of illegal human activities responsible for the erosion. The erosion is mainly high waves and aggressive tide over the years which has eaten deep into the clay foundation of the Island, thereby destroying over Eighty (80) permanent structures including Mosques and other significant facilities to the Island.
Receiving the team, Head of the Island (Town Chief), Gbessay Kabbia, said he was delighted to welcome the team from the NDMA, noting that the visit was very timely to save the Island from a complete sweep by the water.
The Chief continued that before now, there were over Three Thousand (3000) people permanently residing on the Island, but due to the continuous aggression of the water, thereby collapsing and destroying houses, some people have relocated to places like Tombo, Shenge and Katta.
The Chief also pointed out that the Island is almost dividing in the middle, and residents are moving backwards to constructed makeshift structures as shelters for their families. He concluded by saying: “I’m appealing to the NDMA, Government and NGOs to please come to our aid; we need help, the only primary school we have is being undermined by the water and there are cracks on the age-old building.
“A mosque I constructed for my people is gone, we are currently struggling to construct another one in the middle of the Island, so serious attention should be paid to our Island to save it. What we need now is the construction of retaining walls to prevent the water from further eaten deep into the Island”.
The team also found out that there were notable structures such as the only Fish Bander and Garage used to process fish and repair boat engines constructed by FAO, have all been wiped by the water. Residents rely heavily on fishing to make ends meet and take care of their needs, they most times take their faulty boat engines to Tombo for repairs.
Significantly, the team also discovered that the only health center they have is not adequately equipped to handle critical cases. For example, if there is a case of a prolonged labor, they would have to charter a boat to Tombo or Shengay for delivery.
The team from NDMA and WFP will put a comprehensive report together with recommendations to the relevant authorities for action.
For more Enquiries:
Directorate of Communications
National Disaster Management Agency