Floods wash away bridges

Lae News, Normal

The National Thursday, 26th January 2012

BULOLO district is in double-trouble in the delivery of basic services after floods caused by torrential rains washed away two bridges at Pine Top and Gurako on Sunday and Monday respectively.
Locals at Gurako are demanding K15,000 compensation before any bridge maintenance work begins.
The two bridges were also used by major development players in the province such as the Morobe Mining Joint Venture, PNG Forest Product, Zenag and Niuminco.
Ata Creek at Gurako flooded and washed away soil at the concrete base of the bridge on Monday when three openings of the culvert were blocked by piles of debris and rocks diverted water to overflow.
Coffee growers, trade store owners and public servants from Bulolo and Menyamya districts including cargo and fuel carriers for various companies were stranded on either side of the 20m divide.
Passengers were forced to carry cargoes and cross the creek but had to pay K1 to walk over the makeshift bamboo bridge.
The seven major affected sections between Wau, Bulolo and Timini include Four Rot, Yangalimu, Pine Top Bridge, Karanas settlement, Namba 8, Banglum Bridge, Kumalu and Gurako Bridge.
The same situation happened at Pine Top Bridge last Sunday affecting the delivery of services into Wau, Biaru and Garaina in limbo.
Chairman of Veyangabu Association in Gurako village Patrick Tai said “Before any repair and maintenance work can  proceed, the locals are claiming K15,000 payments for the rocks collected by the Works department to maintain the slip-off at the same area last month.
“We also demand MMJV to settle the environmental damage compensation for the access road from Timini to Wafi-Golpu mine site .”
The agreement for the payment was signed by responsible authorities led by Mumeng local level council manager Samuel Jangin, Works and MMJV representative John Maran from Hidden Valley community affairs but nothing eventuated. .
“We will not allow work to progress until  compensation is paid in full,” Tai said.
The Morobe provincial disaster and emergency assistant coordinator Charlie Masangkie visited the affected site yesterday.
Masangkie said in such cases, National Works was responsible and the disaster and emergency would assist in ways possible.
Provincial Works manager Andrew Thavung said the funding for the payment was expected next month.
He said he was looking at options on how best to solve the problem and have businesses back on road.
Meanwhile, a circular from the National Weather Bureau stated that wet weather will continue until late May and people are warned to take precautions.