Nature-based seawall offers protection and food security for villagers

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed this week not only paves the way to provide protection from impacts of extreme weather events for a village located on the coral coast of the country’s main island of Viti Levu, but it will also boost their food security.

Home to at least 300 people, Namatakula village which is about a 40-minute drive from Sigatoka town, faces coastal erosion, seawater intrusion and flooding threatening their daily existence, including the education of children in the area and immediate communities.

Signed this week between the Ministry of Waterways and the British High Commission of Fiji, with a grant of $38,139, the MOU allows for the establishment of a Nature-Based Solutions Seawall (NBS) for the village, effectively addressing coastal erosion as well as restores the marine biodiversity across its coastline, replenishing their natural resources and boost food security in the future.

The initiative which replaces traditional concrete masonry will involve the building of a 450-metre hybrid sea wall with bouldering work, land reclamation, rows of mangroves, as the first line of defence, and vetiver grass, as a last line of defence, to protect the village coastline.

Minister for Waterways Mahendra Reddy said: “Like other coastal communities in Fiji, Namatakula village faces coastal erosion, along with increased impact from extreme weather events, including seawater intrusion and flooding, which becomes a threat to the communities,” he said.“Therefore, immediate action is needed to address and reduce the impact of coastal inundation that damages the infrastructure and causes threats to the villagers.”

British High Commissioner to Fiji George Edgar said: “I am delighted to support this innovative project. I hope that it will provide valuable services to the villagers of Namatakula, and show the effectiveness of nature-based solutions.”

Waiting to hear back from the ministry on project timelines.

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