Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced on Sunday that work to rebuild the collapsed bridge over the Montepuez river, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, will begin in March, at the end of the rainy season.
Three weeks ago, the river, turned into a raging torrent by heavy rains in the province, swept away the central pillars of the bridge, on the main road through Quissanga district. This cut off the northern districts of Cabo Delgado (Mueda, Muidumbe, Nangade, Palma and Mocimboa da Praia) from the provincial capital, Pemba, and the south of the province.
Nyusi visited the fallen bridge on Sunday and was briefed on progress in building an alternative means of crossing the river. After the collapse, the only way of crossing was by boat. At the request of the government, the multinational companies exploiting the natural gas resources of Cabo Delgado allocated two boats, which ferried people and goods across the Montepuez.
This alleviated the sharp rise in prices for basic foodstuffs in the northern districts, which followed the collapse of the bridge.
But now a mobile bridge, plus a causeway resting on large boulders placed in the shallow river, allows pedestrians to cross from one bank to the other. Public works officials told Nyusi that, within a few days, this improvised causeway will be able to carry vehicles of up to ten tonnes.
Nyusi visited other places severely affected by the torrential rains. He overflew the locality of Miangaleua, in the basin of the Messalo river, where was another break in the same highway. Here the Messalo had burst its banks flooding many fields cultivated by local farmers.
The swollen Messalo also brought down an electricity pylon, which cut off the power to the northern districts. The power supply was re-established last Monday.