FOR 18 years, retired nurse Carol Moller has been living in what is her dream house in Manzanilla. Each morning she wakes up to the beautiful view of a sunrise over the Manzanilla Beach.
A retired nurse who once lived in Missouri, USA, she returned home and decided to build on the piece of land she owned for years. However, over the past five years, Moller said, the sea has been steadily reclaiming the land taking away as much as 15 feet of her property.
Moller said she has been pleading with Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan for help, but claims that he he said there was nothing that can be done.
“The ministry came and the Coastal Protection Unit came and they all said they couldn’t do anything, but about three miles down the road, where there is nobody living, they are putting up a retention wall. They said they are protecting the road from caving in.
“All I am asking for is ten loads of gravel to prevent the waves from crashing onto my property during the high tide. I will get an overloader to place it along the property to save more land from being washed away,” Moller said in an interview with Newsday.
She said her next door neighbour has since abandoned his property after encountering the same coastal erosion that is threatening her home. She said that during high tide, water seeps into her house and she fears this will only get worse. “Right now I am very insecure. I don’t want to leave and run. I have nowhere to run to. I need somebody to help me save my home,” she cried.
When contacted, Minister Sinanan admitted there is no quick fix for Moller’s situation. He said it is a major problem where there was a natural encroachment pattern. H said the ministry is conducting a study on the Manzanilla shoreline at this time.
“Unfortunately we have to actually study the area and then do a design for the whole Manzanilla coastline. It is not so simple as just putting some boulders in front of the house. What is required is major, major protection. Yes, we do know about the situation with the house, but the entire Manzanilla coastline is under threat. It is not that one house alone, it is the entire coast that is under threat.
“We do have several coastal projects happening in that area, however, what we are doing are the studies and surveys to come up with solutions for the entire Manzanilla coastline. There is no quick fix for something like that. We are looking at natural erosion. It is something the coastal division has to look at as to how to protect the entire coast. Putting boulders in front of one house doesn’t solve the problem in that area because a lot of people would have tried that and it tends to make things worse.”
Sinanan said he has spoken to Moller on several occasions and had sent the director of the protection unit to look at it and see if anything could be done.
“Unfortunately, all the reports came back stating it was a major coastal problem that is affecting the entire Manzanilla coastline and all the way up to Mayaro. We are actually trying to protect the roadway so that we don’t have a cut off between Manzanilla and Mayaro.” In 2014, the road between the two villages were impassable after heavy rains caused parts of the roadway to break off.