SHORELINE and coastal erosion is a serious problem that urgently needs to be addressed to protect the land from eating away by the sea.

The rise in sea level is one of the contributing factors to the problem witnessed at Lifuka beach and coastal areas.

Ha’apai 12 constituency MP, Vili Hingano revealed this when he reported the most urgent needs of his constituency in Parliament on Tuesday. He said the issue is not new as this often raised in the House.

“The sea is slowly eating away the land because of the sea level rise. This needs to be urgently addressed to protect the Lifuka coastal areas,” explained MP Hingano.

Ha’apai 12 MP told Parliament a request was made to the Deputy Prime Minister at the beginning of the year for the seawall construction. Cabinet approved $400,000.00 from the Disaster Management Fund for building of the 200 meters seawall.

Hingano had questioned Cabinet on the progress of the project because of Lifuka’s vulnerability to the impacts of sea level rise.

In response the Hon. Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism, ‘Etuate Lavulavu said work has begun at Pangai for building of the seawall. The intial plan was to build 400 meters seawall but funding is the problem. He said two excavators and a bulldozer have been shipped to Ha'apai to help with the construction work. Two MOI architects are also on the island to closely monitor the project and to ensure qualit work is provided.

According to Lavulavu the construction work is progressing well.

“120 lorries of stones have been transported to the northern and southern side of Pangai for the construction of the concrete seawall…Now, they have managed to construct 20 metres of the seawall. Work includes clearing of the site and footing for the wall, said Hon. Lavulavu.

Hon. Lavulavu said the $400,000 fund is not yet available for the implementation of the project. However, funds from the Ministry of Infrastructure budget are now being used for the initial seawall construction work in Ha’apai.

He said the Ministry of Finance is now procuring the fund of the project and once it is released this would help to speed up the operation.

“We will ensure a quality work is provided and for a successful project,” maintained Hon. Lavulavu.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project was conducted in July before a ground breaking ceremony eventually took place last month.

Meanwhile Ha’apai number one Noble Representative Lord Tu’iha’angana is optimistic Tonga is soon to receive aid grant from Climate Change donor agencies for completion of the seawall construction.

He is hopeful for a seawall to run from Hihifo to Pangai.

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