Traffic along the Highlands highway has come to a standstill after flood waters destroyed part of the Bena bridge outside of Goroka Last night.
 More than 200 vehicles from Lae, Madang and the upper reaches of highlands have been stranded since  the early hours of this  morning.   Pedestrian traffic has taken  the place of vehicles as    people work  around the obstacle of the broken bridge.
 Yesterday,   vehicles could pass. Early this morning,  the section that held up  under strain of floodwaters 12 hours ago,  collapsed. 
 The Provincial Works  Department has  ordered a replacement bridge from Mt. Hagen.  But it could take a day before the bridge arrives in  Goroka for repairs.
 “Repairing this bridge and training the river could cost up to K2.5 million,” said Works Manager,  John Posagu.
 The Bena bridge is just one of several  that have  suffered serious damage  in the wake of floods   marking the end of an 8-month drought. 
 Yesterday,  The Henganofi MP,  Robert Atiyafa, visitied the Dunatina Local Level government area where five  permanent  metal bridges have been  washed away two nights ago.
 The  damage in Henganofi alone   will cost the district up to 5 million  kina for repairs.  It is money the district doesn’t have.
 “I don’t know what we will do at this time. The district simply doesn’t have the money to replace these bridges.
 “I am making an appeal to the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill,  for urgent assistance. “
 In Dunatina,  More than 30,000 people are stranded in the rural local level government area.    At least one school is reported to have been destroyed by flooding.
 For the Bena bridge alone,  the repairs and the transportation of  a baily bridge from Mt. Hagen could cost the province up to 2 million kina.  The destruction has come at a time when the government is tightening spending  in all areas of operation.
 In Madang Province,  several bridges have   washed away.  In the Oro province, the provincial government needs  several millions to repair and replace  bridges destroyed last week during  flash floods.

 This is an emerging crisis  that could spell disaster for  the  whole PNG economy.


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