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Villagers dice with death to cross River Igaligoli

A resident dangerously cross-river Igoligoli which connects Imuliru and Ikuywa in Ikolamani. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Residents of Imuliru and Ikuywa villages in Ikolomani constituency risk their lives every day to cross River Igaligoli, which has no bridge.

They say the shaky wooden log, that acts as a ‘bridge’, is too dangerous and instead, they resort to swimming or wading in the water. 

“We cannot use the bridge since it is weak and can collapse at any time. Swimming across the river is risky because it is wide. For the strong-hearted, they wade in the water,” said Ms Sarah Musindia.

Ms Musindia claims for the past five years, this has been the situation after a bridge that was constructed by the government collapsed.

 “It is worse for the elderly and school-going children. We have identified a shallow end in the river where they can wade through the waters. It is, however, challenging when it rains and the water levels rise,” she says.

Mr Patrick Shikori, a resident of Ikuywa, says a few years ago, the county government started constructing a bridge, but it collapsed midway and they abandoned it.

 The 68-year-old says the river poses a major risk to the lives of residents, especially school-going children and businessmen.  

“It is a challenge for businessmen who have to transport their goods. They have to pay sand harvesters to help ferry the goods, which is costly,” said Mr Shikori.

Mr Shikori further added that accessing hospitals is a challenge and sometimes, patients end up dying due to the delay.

“It is not possible to rush a patient to the hospital or even transport a body of a loved one from the mortuary.  The county government has failed us and something should be done,” he said.

He added that when it rains, the situation becomes worse due to the strong currents.

“We have had incidents where people have been swept away by the strong currents in the river. Women and the elderly have been victims, we have rescued many from being swept away. Some have been left with permanent injuries, and the unlucky ones end up drowning,” he said.

 Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali said they were aware of the situation and plans were underway to offer a lasting solution.

“This issue has not been brought to my attention but I will tour the place and plan on the way forward,” the lawmaker said when reached for comment.