Residents that neighbor Miguramo Bridge that connects Muhanga and Ruhango districts are worried about water that comes off the bridge banks whenever it rains heavily. The residents say that whenever it rains a lot of water leave off the bridge banks and this destroys their crops and blocks their way.
Hagenimana Etienne a resident of Rutarabana village insists that whenever they experience a torrential rain they spent a night on the other side of the river and the situation also prevents children from going home as they leave school.
‘Whenever it rains, our farms are covered with water and the bridge is submerged. No one can cross the river and pupils have to spend some days on the other side of the river until the situation abates. All crops in the valley are washed away and this causes much loss to the residents. We appeal to leaders to reconstruct the bridge in a way that it has to be higher than usual and this will enable the water to find its way.’
Nyirabarigira Irene who is a manager of a cooperative that grows strawberries in farms around the bridge says that the rain hinders their business. Normally the cooperative produces wine and Juice but the rain has caused them a lot of loss. The manager said that they need an advocacy to the problem in order to do their business without any obstacle.
‘We would be advancing but we are not due to such disasters. Whenever it rains water does not find its way because the bridge is blocked. If we get advocacy to solve the problem, we will make much profit.’
She further argues they tried to widen the way of water but all in vain because there is no enough way. This has harmed their business since the water has covered their crops. He said that the water washed away some ripe strawberries that were to be harvested soon. She insisted that they are not expecting any production this year. The manager said that what can be done is to elevate the bridge and this will drastically increase production of strawberries.
The in charge of environment protection in Muhanga district Mr. Mpagaritswenimana Vedaste said that advocacy to the problem was underway. Besides, he insisted that the district leaders held meetings with residents who live near the valley or those who farm there and they are instructed on how to clear off blockage.
‘We partner with residents in pleading for advocacy so that the bridge would be repaired. Furthermore, we advise farmers to leave enough space where water may pass whenever it rains’ He said.
The leader further said that Muhanga district plans to plant some mambos on the bank of the river and near the bridge in a bit to fight against soil erosion that washes away much soil. He also said that due to advocacy that was made, the bridge would be repaired soon.
Residents who live near Miguramo Bridge say that it receives 2 rivers; one comes from Kabgayi dam pipe whereas another comes from Byimana. They also confirm that the bridge connects Nyamabuye and Mpanda sectors of Muhanga and Ruhango districts.
Jean Aime Desire IZABAYO