Heavy rains last week washed away the Girua Bridge and parts of the Kumusi Bridge. In 2007, Cyclone Guba caused mass destruction destroying many vital bridges in Oro Province. Recent years have seen new bridge construction courtesy of Australian Aid funds. However, building sturdy bridges throughout the Province does not happen overnight. As a result, when torrential rains fall, temporary structures come down.
The Girua Bridge is vital. It connects the airport with the town and allows essential supplies to be transported. Petrol and food can only be delivered when the bridge is functioning. Those requiring medical attention from Popondetta General Hospital are forced to risk a trip over or go without. Sadly, the people of Oro Province are all too used to the bridges collapsing.
The bridge that crosses the Kumusi River is crucial. Located on the way to Kokoda, it allows people to travel across a large, fast running river. The current and body of water that flows is constant and rapid.
Depending on the depth of the water and how fast it is flowing, people sometimes attempt to traverse it themselves using some kind of flotation device such as a tyre. Local people have died attempting to cross when there is no bridge available to use.
Hopefully a temporary solution can be found so that people can once again be connected to each other and the services they need to live their lives.