The National, Monday 15th April, 2013
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
STUDENTS attending the Brahman Secondary School in Madang will face problems travelling to school if the Usema bridge over the Ramu River is not fixed
The bridge collapsed from the flooding in the area. Brahman is the only secondary school in Usino-Bundi district.
Last Thursday, half of the students left for the first term break hoping to return if the Usema bridge is still there.
A visit to the bridge by The National revealed rushed work done in haste and unsuited to the Ramu’s unpredictable flow.
Concerns raised by the school with the district and provincial works departments have either been ignored or not taken seriously.
A spokesman for the works department, who asked not to be identified, said there was a total lack of monitoring because of the lack of funding.
The Naru “Pairap Bris” also lost its two 2m-long steel decking last Friday.
Max Menda, the Walium district foreman when questioned by school authorities if he would salvage the bridge, said: “We are waiting for the dry season before we can
lift the bridge.”
While they wait for the dry season, the future of the 743 boarding students, more than 200 primary and elementary school students, public servants and their families serving the school and aid-post remain in doubt.
School founder Max David who risked his life to ferry reporters to Brahman last week, said work by contractors had been below par.
He, however, did not blame the provincial or national works departments entirely because the onus was on those providing the funding.
“If they had the money they would always carry inspections and maintain the bridges in a timely manner and not wait for the situation to get worse,” he said.
David said the next heavy rain would sweep away the bridge leaving people stranded on both sides.
David said the return of students after the term break would be delayed if the crossing was
Ferrying rations and supplies across has become a nightmare for school officials too.