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Ancient Zanzibar Ruins Under Threat

Plans are under way for the Zanzibar Government to construct a seawall of about 500m to protect Mkumbuu City ruins from being washed away by rising sea levels, according to various reports.

The city is believed to have existed in the 11th century and it is one of the key tourist attraction sites in Pemba Islands.

Khamis Ali Juma, Co-Ordinator for the Department of Museums and Antiquities in Pemba, said a number of measures were being taken to ensure that the area of Mkumbuu is protected from sea water invasion.

“We have planned to construct a barrier measuring about five hundred meters to protect the historic site of Mkumbuu, along with rehabilitating other historic sites in Pemba Islands. The budget for the project is about TZS2.4bn (€886 625),” said Juma.

He added that the erosion and rise in sea levels were due to the impact of climate change. The 11th century mosque is currently on the verge of disappearing if contingency plans are not implemented soon, and some historic sites are already under water or have been washed away after delays in taking adaption measures.

Director General of the Zanzibar Environment Management Authority, Sheha Mjaja Juma, said people living close to coastal areas and experts from his office should work together – with support from the government and development partners – to plan and implement climate change adaptation and mitigation measures to protect Zanzibar from the effects of rising sea levels.

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