Rwanda: Ngoma-Bugesera Road Inaccessible as Flood Washes Away Bridge

Garissa residents wade through floods after the River Tana burst its banks following days of torrential rain.

The road connecting the districts of Ngoma and Bugesera in Eastern Province is inaccessible since Tuesday, April 28 after River Kanyonyomba flooded and "completely" washed away a bridge in Gashora valley. Bugesera District Administration prohibited use of the bridge, something that has affected the transport of people and vehicles, and hampered trade, mainly agricultural products, between the two districts, especially the two neighbouring sectors of Rukumberi (Ngoma) and Gashora (Bugesera). Gashora valley has two rivers; Akagera and Kanyonyomba, and there are bridges on both, however, the wooden bridge on Kanyonyomba, a smaller river, was too old. Officials said that the bridge was damaged due to flooding of River Akagera.

Akagera is the biggest river in Rwanda, with its tributaries being Nyabarongo and Akanyaru.

According to Bugesera District officials, since Tuesday, April 28, people were not allowed to cross the bridge to prevent accidents at the bridge that had been looking "too risky", as Kanyonyomba had already started flooding and the bridge was getting "weaker".

Due to heavy rains that caused flooding in Gashora Valley, the bridge was finally taken away last week. / Courtesy Bugesera Mayor Richard Mutabazi had announced recently that an Engineering Brigade had carried out an assessment of repairs needed to restore the bridge. However, on Monday, the remaining parts of the bridge were totally washed away by the water, "The studies that had just been done in order to repair it just became futile now," Mayor Mutabazi told The New Times. It is just a river now, not a bridge, he added. Mayor Mutabazi added; "This [Monday] afternoon, we will go there again to do other assessments, starting from scratch." The mayor explained that they had not allocated a budget to construct the bridge because there were already plans to construct the whole road, but after the bridge was damaged, it affected trade between the two districts, something that the district needs to work on urgently so that traders can continue working. One of the important infrastructure plans in the seven 7-year Government programme (2017-2024) is the construction of Ngoma-Bugesera-Nyanza road, connecting Eastern and Southern provinces. The construction of Ngoma-Bugesera-Nyanza road is President Paul Kagame's pledge to the people of the three districts, and according to Mayor Mutabazi, the works are in phases and have already begun. "The first phase is from Kibugabuga to Nyanza, passing through sectors of Kamabuye and Ruhuha (in Bugesera) and through Rwabusoro to Nyanza," he mentioned. After this phase, another phase will see the construction of a road from Ramiro and Gashora (in Bugesera) to Ngoma Distrcit. This is the phase that will also construct "modern" bridges on the rivers in the valley of Gashora.

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