Tide Turns Against Liberia's Biggest Slum

Tide turns against Liberia's biggest slum

MONROVIA, (Pakistan Point News - 25th july,2016) - The fishermen, hustlers and market traders of West Point have survived two civil wars and an Ebola epidemic, but this resilient Liberian slum cannot hold back the ocean that is slowly swallowing it. The country's biggest township is being swallowed by the sea, tearing the heart out of one of the capital's liveliest neighbourhoods and leaving the government struggling to rehouse thousands of displaced residents.

"Sometimes at 2am when you're sleeping the waves will go straight on top of the house. Before you come to, everybody is confused; you're soaked with water," said Cecelia Nimley, 56, a lifelong resident of West Point. "The swell will just wipe away things. I sent my grandchildren to some friends and the big ones are on their own," she said, describing losing her house and all her possessions to the waves. The shacks are stacked together any which way, built from a variety of reclaimed materials.

Sitting on a peninsula, jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, the slum is being hit by rising seas -- a consequence of global warming -- and coastal erosion, say local officials. West Point's residents have long battled poverty and drug addiction is rife in the area. The community was torn apart when the Ebola virus struck. But the encroaching sea water is adding to the struggle to meet basic needs.