Collapsed bridge causes chaos

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 10th April, 2013


MORE than 2,000 students at the Brahman High School in Madang are affected by rising Ramu river flood levels and by collapsed bridges and roads.

The recent collapse of the Usema bridge has added to their woes and cut off this Catholic agency school from the rest of Madang province and from relief supplies by road.

And help for this school and the people by the banks of the flooding Ramu appears quite remote.

Yesterday Usino-Bundi works manager Steven Biko expressed bitter disappointment at the delay in funding for bridge and road works badly affected by the recent heavy rains.

Biko fronted up at The National office yesterday with pictures depicting the deteriorating state of the Usino-Bundi, Madang-Lae and Usino to Madang parts of the roads which he says are now covered in water.

The pictures showed the now fixed Kesewai Bridge, which had its bare abutments jutting out due to soil erosion to its base. 

The river has had to be diverted to prevent further damage but these are only temporary measures, Biko said.

Biko said a backfill to the washed out abutment putting in boulders as retaining walls have been done but will need proper work and funding of which he presently does not have.

“The Ramu river has already approached the Sausi bridge. 

“It has already put Bono village under its wake and is only two kilometers to reaching the Sausi Bridge”, he said.

Biko said the Madang to Ramu road was under water.

“There is no bitumen, the road is only water and mud”, he said.

A land slip in the Ono slopes has become a nightmare for many road users and shops have been seen sometimes with half stocked freezers as container drivers refuse to risk their lives and load on the now dangerous drive.

Biko testified that he had to struggle for a good half hour coming up the sunken road on Ono.

A councillor from Rai­coast, Humome Muengo from ward 14 in Saidor LLG, said the Wara Mot had spilled over after seven other adjoining rivers and streams beneath the Finisterre Range gathered at one location 

to spill over.

A man has gone missing, believed swept away,  and people are complaining about the lack of help from the district and their MP, James Gau.

Meanwhile disaster boss, Martin Mose has dispatched officers who are currently in the province to assess the scale of the disaster.