The effects of coastal erosion on Lamini Village in Taveuni will soon be mitigated following the commissioning of a $1.08million seawall on the village coastline.
Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy while commissioning the project yesterday, highlighted that it was in addition to current Coastal Rehabilitation and Protection works being undertaken by Government to address the associated impacts of coastal erosion.
“In recent decades, beach erosion in most of Fiji is significantly threatening the existence of coastal communities as the causes of beach and coastal erosion are considered to be a combination of both human-induced development and global sea-level rise.”
“Our coastline is too important to the nation and the lifestyle of Fijians, as we cannot leave it to erode and invade our homes, our livelihoods and our sense of security.”
Reddy acknowledged the villagers self-reliance, initiative and efforts in addressing the impending erosion.
“I understand like many other coastal communities in Fiji, this community has been fighting coastal erosion through appropriate means and locally available materials, I commend you all for your efforts and I am pleased that we are getting this project to increase your resilience.”
Under the Coastal Rehabilitation and Protection works of the Ministry of Waterways, the Hon Minister said the commissioning marked a continuous effort to keep the “Ocean at bay”.
“While the implementation of infrastructural measures to protect against encroaching seas is expensive, given our situation we have to resort to it to protect our vulnerable communities,” he said.
“This project shall provide the much needed relief and an increase in safety and security to this rural community of Lamini,” he said.
The Ministry of Waterways and Environment, through its contractor Viti Vanua Holdings, will retrofit the deteriorating seawall by constructing a 315 meter long stone masonry seawall in front of the existing seawall which was built in 1995.
The $1,085,302.00million worth project will include drainage systems, a boat landing area, culvert crossing, and footpath.
The coastal protection work is expected to benefit the Lamini Village community by ensuring infrastructure is protected from coastal flooding during storm surges.
“It will also address longshore drift and associated erosion and accretion, allow the restoration of the beach and provide the peace of mind and sense of safety to the village.
Minister Reddy also recommended that it would be beneficial for villagers to invest in ecosystem-based approaches to further increase their resilience and to learn to co-exist with nature as this intervention would reduce the community’s exposure and increase their adaptive capacity.