Recent floods in Pangia wash away footbridge

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 2nd May 2013

 A FOOTBRIDGE made from bush ropes was washed away during a recent flood affecting the movement of more than 4,000 people in Pangia, Southern Highlands.

People in the two council wards in Laiyo village cannot travel to their food gardens and the market in Pangia. Worse, children attending Apenda Primary School cannot cross the Ipe River.

Owen Opa, a lecturer at the Holy Trinity Teachers’ College, Western Highlands, told The National that people in the area had been greatly affected.

“People are carrying goods and crossing the river with children on the shoulders of older ones,” he said.

“It is very serious and threatening for older people crossing the Ipe River. This is a disaster.”

The bridge used to be maintained by elderly people in the locality but most of them were now too old to carry logs from the bushes to rebuild the bridge.

The two council wards – Molo One and Two – have separate bridges made from bush materials. Molo One lost its footbridge to the floods while the bridge at Molo Two is on the verge of collapsing.

Last year, community leader Owen Opa, on behalf of the people engaged the Western Highlands provincial works to do a survey for footbridges at Ipe One, Ipe Two and Poyo.

Opa said the proposal was with prime minister’s office. 

He urged Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is Ialibu-Pangia MP, to approve the proposal and let the bridge be built. 

He said people had food gardens on the other side of the river and many travel to Apenda and Pangia markets to sell their produce.

“We cannot continue to cross the huge river. We need a bridge. And our children go to primary, high school and tertiary institutions using the only bridge,” he said. 

“We would like our MP, Prime Minister (O’Neill) to build the bridge at once before lives of older people and children are lost.”