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Acinga Bridge Washed Away, Thousands Stranded

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Acinga Island is surrounded by two Kirik and Oruo rivers making it a hard to reach area. Joseph Oriya, the Acowa sub-county LC III Chairperson who also care takes Acinga Sub County, says the Acinga community is completely cut off.
Acinga Bridge, Kapelebyong. aman crossing carrying a bicycle. the charge is 5000

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Acinga Island in Acinga Sub County in Kapelebyong district is cut off following the collapse of the only bridge connecting to the island. The bridge was washed away when Kirik River burst its banks following a heavy down pour leaving hundreds of people stranded on either side.

Acinga Island is surrounded by two Kirik and Oruo rivers making it a hard to reach area. Joseph Oriya, the Acowa sub-county LC III Chairperson who also care takes Acinga Sub County, says the Acinga community is completely cut off. Acinga sub-county was curved out of Acowa sub-county and became operational on the start of this financial year. 

According to Oriya, Acinga Sub County, which comprises 28 villages and five parishes, is home to 14,040 people. He says so far 12 people have lost their lives while trying to cross the waters to access Acowa cattle market and the nearby sub counties.  

The latest victim is a one Okello, a son to Otoba who drowned at Acinga Bridge. Oriya appeals to humanitarian organizations to intervene and give a helping hand to save the people of Acinga. He says the sub-county lacks funds to reconstruct Acinga Bridge, saying it can only be used during dry season when river dries up.  

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Ruth Apio, a resident of Acinga Sub-county told our reporter that they have a big challenge of crossing from Acinga to nearby sub-counties. She says neither a vehicle nor motorcycle can cross to Acinga Sub-county.    

“There are no available boats for us to use in order to cross to other places so as to access markets and other services,” she explained. 

Rose Akwi, a small scale business operator complains that her business has grounded to a halt due to lack of access to other markets she used to buy from commodities for sell. 

   

Peter Otim, a resident of Acinga points out that for one to cross the water, swimmers have to carry them across at Shillings 5000 per person. Otim calls for government intervention to help repair the bridge to prevent more deaths.       

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Simon Peter Erwaku, the interim Kapelebyong District LC V chairperson notes that Acinga sub county is disadvantaged because it is surrounded by water. 

He says the district wrote to the Ministry of Works and Transport over the poor state of the Bridge but they were advised to forward the request to the Road Fund.      

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Julius  Okwi , a primary six  pupil at Acowa Primary  school, says he is worried that most school going children will  remain at home when third term opens. 

"Some pupils mostly girls will not be able to swim," Okwii said. He said despite the fact that they face a challenge of transport, he makes money by carrying people's luggage.

Eng. William Tumwine, the Manager Bridges and Structures under Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA declined to comment on the matter, saying he will only speak after getting updates from UNRA offices in Soroti.