ASSINIE, Ivory Coast — On a shrinking strip of beach in southeast Ivory Coast, hotel owner Habib Hassan Nassar has to stack thousands of sandbags each week to protect his property from the rising sea. Thanks to the meters-high sandbag barricade, the Kame Surf Camp hotel clings to its section of beach in the resort of Assinie, even as the waves hem the hotel in on three sides and, in a recent surge, devastated the businesses of its neighbors. “Frankly, I am exhausted,” said Nassar, 50, who first came to the area as a child when this stretch of beach on the Gulf of Guinea was much wider and it took five minutes on foot to reach the shoreline. Now he spends up to 1 million cfa francs ($1,640) a week to keep the sea at bay and his business afloat, buying truckloads of sand and hiring workers to pour it into bags and shore up the hotel’s defenses. Such expenses are likely to increase. Without adaptation, damages from sea level rise could cost 12 large African coastal cities up to $86.5 billion by 2050, according to U.N. climate experts. Those cities include Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan, just down the coast from Assinie. “A small business like mine, all it can do is fill sandbags and put them out front and pray for the best,” Nassar said, surveying his sea wall in a skull T-shirt bearing the slogan: ‘Call of the Wave’. The rapidly growing populations of West Africa’s low-lying coastal areas are particularly exposed to rising sea levels, a trend that is accelerating globally due to extreme glacier melt and record ocean heat levels, the World Meteorological Organization warned in April. Coastal erosion at the palm-fringed tourist haven of Assinie is classified as of particular concern due to the high rate of beach loss at a resort that is an important economic hub, according to Ivory Coast’s National Coastal Environment Management Program. It says the national coastal erosion rate averages between 0.5 and 3 meters a year. Over several days in August, a series of rogue waves underscored the vulnerability of Assinie and other coastal towns east of Abidjan. The oversized waves pummeled the shore, striking higher than ever before and devastating homes and businesses. “I was lucky enough to anticipate … but if you look around me, everything else has been completely destroyed,” said Nassar, recalling the

2023-11-27T07:59:07Z dg43tfdfdgfd