Government to spend Sh1bn to renovate 400-year-old Fort Jesus in Mombasa

The fort has been facing a possible washout by the sea waves.

 

The site, the Ministry of Sports and Culture has said, has its walls chipping off due to strong Atlantic Ocean waves.

The seafront of the 16th century fort is situated within Mombasa Old Town and it attracts thousands of tourists every year.

However, rising tides are eroding it and also chipping away at its coral foundation and compromising its structural strength.

UNESCO's worry

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had warned that heritage sites and landmarks such as Fort Jesus, the Vasco da Gama Pillar in Kenya’s coastal town of Malindi on the North Coast, and the Old British Customs House in Vanga, Msambweni, on the South Coast, all situated on the seashore face an uncertain future due to rising sea levels.

Kenya’s Sports and Culture Cabinet Secretary Dr Hassan Wario told journalists that the water has been eating the fort from underneath.

However, he said the government will build a seawall to hold back the waters and create a prim land where people can relax and take walks in the evening.

The whole project, he said, will cost of Sh1 billion.

“It is an old fort. It is over 400 years old. It needs specialised care, and the water has been eating underneath. But by next week the contract for building a seawall to hold back the water will be given out,” he said.

Mr Wario was speaking on Thursday when he visited Mombasa female technocrats at Swahili Cultural Centre.

Threat to ecosystem

Recently, in a research published in the Nature Scientific Reports journal seen by P Live Kenya, Kenya's coral reefs was found to be among those set to be affected by coral bleaching which poses gravy threat to one of the earth’s most important ecosystems.

According to the research, there will be severe bleaching every year on 99 per cent of the world’s reefs within the century.

"If current trends continue and the world fails to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then severe bleaching will occur every year on 99 per cent of the world’s reefs within the century," reads part of the report.

Fort Jesus was built by the Portuguese in 1593-1596 to protect the port of Mombasa. It is one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th Portuguese military fortification and a landmark in history.

The fort covers an area of 2.36 hectares , attracting thousand of tourists.

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