Family mourns teenage son’s death caused by flood

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BY JEFFREY ELAPA
A FAMILY from Rigo in Central is mourning the death of a young man who was washed away in a flood.
Beetson Boio, a grade 10 student at Waigani Christian College, drowned on Saturday as the family was returning from their weekend at their Gobu Komana village.
Boio would have turned 18 next month.
He was the last of five children.
Father Robert Boio, who is the first secretary to Kerema MP Richard Mendani, said his son would not have been washed away and drowned if engineers had considered rainfall and flooding in the area.
He said a cement bridge over the river, a few metres before the main Kemp Welch Bridge was not suitable for flooding.
However, Works Secretary David Wereh said flooding was unpredictable, as it was an impact of weather.
“It is not an engineering issue,” he said.
“It is a climate change issue that is threatening lives, economies and infrastructure everywhere in the world.
“What used to occur rarely is now occurring frequently.”
Boio said during rainy seasons, the river flooded and was forced to go around the bridge and flood the entire road, something that never happened until the bridge was built.
He said in this current rainy season, the river flooded over the road, stopping all commuters from crossing.
Boio said as they stopped to check the road at 5pm on Saturday, his son came out to check the level of flooding, and was swept away.
Beetson Boio’s body was found the next day.
Boio questioned the engineering design and if Works’ engineers certified the bridge before use.
He said he was asking the Department of Works if there was negligence on it’s part in approving design of the bridge and if they had certified it for use.

One thought on “Family mourns teenage son’s death caused by flood

  • The death of this young boy, Beetson, is a loss anyway you look at it. A loss to the family, the district and the country as whole. A life so full of years ahead gets taken in a moment’s incident. Totally unnecessary.
    Where this event occurred, is a portion on the Magi Highway where extensive flooding has always occurred in the past. What the contracted Chinese builders did was follow the Scope of Works. Raise the abutment 5 or 6 metres. Place the span and rails. Run bitumen. Erect signs. And, that was it. What the construction did not solve was the root problem – which is flooding of the road section and the nearby areas. In other words, wasted kina and toea.
    This is where, I think, we Papua New Guinea as a whole have failed to value development in analytical, resourceful, ingenuity problem solving in every profession of the nation’s workforce and including the political landscape. Everywhere you turn there are “band-aid” solutions for major national concerns.
    In this case, the scope of works was short-sighted. The Works Department just need to produce the scope of works of that bridge to the grieving family as some king of closure. It should from now on endeavour to deliver impactful development to the people.
    I believe that at half the cost of that new bridge a trench would been cut by bulldozer into the nearby river system as a control.

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