Yumbe- Shortage of cash contribution from both Uganda and South Sudan governments are delaying completion of River Kaya Morta bridge project linking Uganda and South Sudan.
The construction work that started in February 2013 at Shs 1.8 billion was to be completed in this year by M/S Dach Engineering Company Ltd. But most of the works on the Bridge that is to save lives of more people from drowning remains incomplete. The work on the bridge has reached at the level of erecting a deck.
Speaking to West Nile Press on Thursday, Bernard Ayimani, the district engineer said there is need to finish the bridge in order to save lives of people because many South Sudan refugees cross from that area to take refuge in Uganda.
“We need additional money of Shs 1 billion to complete the work and if funds are available, the work will get over next financial year. We are treating this matter of urgency because South Sudan government promised to give half of the money but nothing has materialized. We are not sure now because the country is destabilized by war,” he said.
Workers arranging the steel girders in Kampala to be transported to Yumbe district. Photos by Elema Robert
But because there is no temporary wooden bridge constructed the people to cross, which may be swept away when heavy rain comes.
One person drowned last year as the refugees were crossing into Uganda and on average about 300 refugees cross from there and are camped at Munduale reception in Kei sub-county before being shifted to the settlement camps in Bidibidi.
He said the final check on the dimension of the bridge was done on Monday and the delivery of the steel girders at the site will be at the end of this month before the work on the deck starts.
Taban Yasiin the LCV chairman said it needs the intervention of the central government, UNHCR agencies and other NGOs to support the project because through the bridge, they receive a lot of refugees.
He said the situation would worsen when the rains returns and the water level will increase that will make crossing difficult leading to losses of lives of people as it had been happening before.
The bridge that urgently needs to be completed.
“We have ever budgeted money for the project but we can’t raise the money at once because the cost of the bridge is high and we also want to balance the PRDP money to maintain the roads and for other developments,” he said.
The memorandum of understanding
The Shs 1.8 billion deal for the Bridge project was signed between Yumbe local government and South Sudan in 2013 in which the two parties agreed to share the cost equally. South Sudan usually rely heavily on goods from Uganda both building materials and food items. The route is also shorter compared to use of the Yei route to the South Sudan Capital Juba and Nimule town.