Up to 1000 students and over 10 000 people including public servants and the rural people in Brahman and Bundi may suffer as the rainy season takes its toll on the roads and bridges quickly.
Worst affected will be the 700-plus high school students of the St Michael’s High School Brahman, who may see their school shut down only a month after the school year started. The high school will shut down if supplies don’t reach the school by Wednesday (19th Feb 2020). Medical supplies, other schools and services may also be affected.
The Catholic Archbishop of Madang, Most Rev. Anton Bal, and long-serving Catholic lay missionary, Max David, are calling on authorities to act quickly to alleviate this situation.
Archbishop Anton decried the state of the road and is calling on those responsible for the road to quickly fix the road.
“We have two mines (MCC Ramu Nickel and Marengo Yandera) here and we have politicians from this area, yet it is surprising to see the road is in such a bad condition. The provincial government and the district must put some money into fixing the roads and bridges.
“It is also very scary to notice that the Baia bridge has almost been carried off. If we have a very heavy rain up in the mountains, this bridge will be swept away. People living in Bundi/Brahman side will be cut off. The schools will shut down and the people will suffer as a result of this,” the newly appointed Archbishop said.
Pioneer Missionary and founder of the Brahman Mission Station, Max David, also reiterated the Archbishop’s call and saying the road condition is so bad students cannot travel in by PMV, with half the student body not arriving yet because of the poor road conditions affected by the rainy weather.
“One more flood and we may lose our bridge, and our primary school, secondary school, health center and all the needs of the community in Brahman and Bundi will be cut off and shut down. It is important to us that this roads and bridges be maintained,” he said.
The long-serving missionary is calling on the MPs from the other districts and the province to assist. He said they have students from all over the province and have taken care of them without any help from the authorities and the other districts who have sent their children to the secondary school in Brahman.
On the Baia Bridge, he said the foundations of the bridge were washed away, with the concrete piles wearing away because of poor engineering and a flood will wash away the bridge anytime soon.
“We need to save the bridge, and some form of preventative work needs to be done to save the bridge and later reconstruction work must be done to secure it permanently,” he said.
Mr David said the authorities are aware of the predicament they are in, and he doesn’t want the Baia Bridge to meet he same fate as the other bridges in the province which were destroyed due to constant neglect.
He said K1.4 million to secure that bridge and K600,000 to upgrade the roads, were allocated but provincial authorities told him that no funds came in. He is hoping that this year, funds will be made available to upgrade the road.
He said if the roads and bridges were not maintained, the mission station would be shut down affecting thousands.