By Omar Bah
Members of the Anglican Diocese of Gambia have publicly launched a campaign to canvass for funds for the construction of a 15-meter wide seawall to protect the 82-year-old Church against further cliff erosion.
The campaign, according to the Church members is meant to preserve and conserve church foundation coastline and the environment against coastal flooding and erosion.
“As members of this historic church we are trying to do everything in our powers to preserve it from the rapidly over flooding sea,” Sola Mahoney, a member and chairman of the campaign team told journalists on Sunday.
This, he said should not be seen in isolation, given the fact that most of those living in the area also face similar challenge.
He said although the church is mobilizing funds for the past three years for the constructions of the wall, “there still more to be done to accomplish work at the area.”
“We are doing our level best as a small church to try to address the problem. We do believe that, this is a national interest and we need the collaboration of both government and the private sector,” he said.
He said to address the problem it will require funds, coordination with different people, “with the Gambia government and perhaps with our neighbors.
“We just hope that we will be able to enlist the efforts of others. We also hope that people out there will be able to understand what we are trying to achieve,” he added.
Dentist Melvin George, also a member of the church, said the coastline project is meant to build a fifteen-meter wall that will help to protect the coastline and as well help to retain the land mass between the Church and the sea.
“And thereby ensure that this church with historical significance, dated as far as the Second World War, is protected from the further ravages from the sea. The other reason for building the seawall is to save the sea, because the sea is a tourist destination, so the wall will eventually be in the national interest,” he said.
He said the committee entrusted with mobilizing the construction of the wall has already engaged government and other institutions to support the 15 million dalasi project, saying work has already begun at the site with the construction of a one million dalasi wall.
He extolled Trust Bank for contributing D40, 000 to the construction of the first phase.
Meanwhile, the project director James George said the Church which was built by soldiers who came to work in the Gambia during the war is seriously in need of support to protect it from the sea cliff.
He said the church is currently 30 metres high above the cliff and seven metres at the lowest point, “this poses great danger to the Church and its environment.”
“We call on the government and the private sector to come to our aid, because the project is too big for the Church. Everybody listening or reading what we are saying here should understand that the project is beyond the Church itself, it is a national issue that needs the intervention of every Gambian,” he said.