The National, Thursday 20th September, 2012
By YVONNE HAIP
SOUTHERN Highlands’ education advisor Joel Raitano said the academic performance of students living in disaster-struck areas of the province will be affected.
Raitano said thousands of students were being forced to stay at home because of the flooding and landslides in at least three quarters of the province which was not good.
Apart from Ialibu, Pangia, Nipa, Kutubu, parts of Imbonggu and upper Mendi, the Kagua-Erave electorate was hardest hit as a result of continuous heavy rain over the past few weeks.
The people are now cut off from the rest of the province and the country after flash floods swept away the Yalo Bridge, as well as at least nine other bridges in the area.
Raitano, a Kagua local, had been part of a team tasked by caretaker provincial administrator Ungia Kembo to conduct assessments in the disaster-struck areas over the weekend.
The Yalo River bridges connecting Pale and Siwi Utame in Ialibu, and Kendagl between Ialibu basin and Kubame (leading to main highway) collapsed during the flood.
People are now trying to gather remains of the bridge, now lying at a 75 degree angle, to reconstruct a makeshift bridge.
Raitano said seven cane bridges along Yalo River, connecting the Ialibu Pangia electorate and Kagua-Erave, were gone.
These bridges link Rawame to Mabuanda, Walupo to Limbo, Walapape to Kuwi, Poleo to Kolapi, Moroa to Kalawira, Tembikene to Kaporoi, and Waima to Rumbalere.
Raitano said because of this, students living on the other side of the river were unable to attend school as it was “dangerous” to cross.
Kagua-Erave has one secondary school, two high schools, two vocational centres, 218 elementary schools and 40 primary schools.