25 Aug 2016

Work underway on stronger seawall in Tuvalu

4:47 pm on 25 August 2016

A United Nations Development Programme-commissioned project to build a 500-metre-long seawall is underway on the Tuvalu atoll of Nukufetau.

Dredging and construction of a new seawall is underway on the Tuvalu atoll of Nukufetau.

Dredging and construction of a new seawall is underway on the Tuvalu atoll of Nukufetau. Photo: Hall Pacific

The project comes around 17 months after Tropical Cyclone Pam battered Tuvalu and created wave action which dislodged much of the former seawall on the island.

It's hoped the new seawall on Nukufetau's northside will ensure the atoll is better equipped to handle cyclones and other severe weather events.

Tuvalu hit by strong winds

Tuvalu hit by strong winds Photo: Facebook Unicef

The $US 6 million project is being undertaken by Australian dredging and civil contracting company Hall Pacific and is expected to be completed towards the end of the year.

Newswire reports Hall Pacific's Managing Director Cameron Hall said the replacement seawall would span more than three metres high and protect the local community for years to come.

Funafuti's oceanside shoreline, Tuvalu

Funafuti's oceanside shoreline, Tuvalu Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Cyclone Pam caused significant damage to Nukufetau's community settlement, including the atoll's infrastructure and environmental assets.

Mr Hall said Pam highlighted the inadequacy of the old seawall and the importance of having a robust barrier in place to protect against large waves along the open stretch of coastline.

  Tuvalu - tidal surges 16x10

Tuvalu - tidal surges 16x10 Photo: Supplied

Nukufetau's low elevation and limited land area leave the atoll vulnerable to coastal erosion and inundation. To combat this, Hall Pacific had proposed designs for submerged wave breaks as part of the project.

Mr Hall mentioned that the project would encompass an additional seawall crest, to improve resilience to overtopping.

Tuvalu - locals assessing damage following flooding

Tuvalu - locals assessing damage following flooding Photo: Supplied

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