Damaged bridge a ‘death trap’

Students of Namosi Catholic Primary School cross the damaged bridge on their way home at Narukunibua village in Namosi last Thursday. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

A damaged bridge still used by Narukunibua villagers in Namosi has been described as a death trap.

Despite raising their concerns about the condition of the bridge with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the opening of the Dada Government Station this year, villagers say their pleas have fallen on deaf years.

Narukunibua chief Ratu Sailosi Rodaivalu said an elderly man in his village had become bedridden after sustaining injuries while trying to cross the bridge.

Ratu Sailosi said 50 students who attended Namosi Secondary School and Namosi Catholic Primary School from the village accessed the bridge daily risking their lives.

“One elderly man who lives across the village, while crossing the damaged bridge, slipped and injured his leg, since then he has been bedridden,” Ratu Sailosi claimed.

Our children use that bridge daily to get to school and during bad weather they wade through floodwaters to get to the village.

“For years since 1994, we have been asking government to fix this bridge. They come here, conduct surveys and return without doing anything.”

Ratu Sailosi said the cold river water could also make children sick.

“It’s really cold, even we adults are getting sick from this cold climate in the interior of Namosi and imagine students who are crossing this river daily,” he said.

Parents in the village say they are concerned about the safety of their children who continue to be left behind.

Questions sent to Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate on July 30 remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

A team from this newspaper was in the village on Wednesday last week to cover challenges faced by villagers.

Vateresia Maria (front) with other Year 5 students of Namosi Catholic Primary School cross the damaged bridge on their way home from school at Narukunibua Village in Namosi. The bridge was damaged during Cyclone Kina in 1993. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

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