Several people living along the coastline of Togo have raised alarm over a severe erosion on the beach which is threatening their lives.
Togo’s coastline experiences high tides and waves that constantly hit the shores washing away the adjacent land.
Many have been forced to abandon their homes along the coast for fear of their houses collapsing.
They say that by 2030 or 2031, our villages will no longer be here
Agbavi is a local village situated just 20 kilometres from the capital, Lome. Toto Legbagan, a fisherman in the village says he like many others live in constant fear.
“We are scared to sleep at night. The ocean waves are strong and loud and flood our houses. I am forced to sleep during the day. No one cares about us.”
Experts have warned that in a decade and a half, there will be no village left along the coast because of the strong tides that have persisted in reclaiming more ground.
This has driven more fear into the locals with many urging the government to intervene to quickly resolve the situation.
“They say that by 2030 or 2031, our villages will no longer be here. What are the solutions? They have yet to tell us what the solutions are. We know that the government is looking for solutions, but are we just going to wait until 2030 to hear about them? That’s what’s worrying us,” said Togbui Koulahana Koffi, the chief of Agbavi village.
Blim Blivi, Director of Togo’s National Centre of Oceanographic Data, warns that persistent erosion of the coastline has claimed an average of 10 to 12 metres of land. This is linked to the climatic change witnessed in recent years.
“With the gradual warming of the sea, the waters are getting warmer and it decreases the water pressure, which leads to rising waters. In such conditions, coastal erosion will accelerate. The shore line will get smaller and smaller, which we have noticed is at an average of 10 to 12 meters, between the years 2010 and 2015,” he said.
The effect of the coastline erosion are already visible as roads are being washed away.
Last December, while attending the United Nations Climate conference in Paris, Togo’s president Faure Gnassingbe appealed to world leaders and other stakeholders to assist his country fight against erosion.
“There are two national roads that go along the coast in Togo, which have now been washed away by the sea. Now we want to build a third road. But if we don’t fight against erosion, what’s the point of building a third road which may disappear in 10 years time if nothing is done about this problem? So we need to change our priorities,” said Gnassingbe.
The Togo government is being urged to be more aggressive in addressing the problem as the conservationists are advising people to play an active role in protecting the enviroment.