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Fiji Time: 9:32 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Dangerous walk across deep water

Serafina Silaitoga
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A GROUP of parents in Saqani, Cakaudrove, have raised their concerns over a makeshift wooden crossing at Lakeba Village used by their children every day.

Parents interviewed by this newspaper shared how some children had fallen into the sea while crossing the wooden bridge on their way to school in the morning.

These are students living in Biaugunu, Natuvu, Saqani and Navetau villages who attend Saqani District School in Lakeba.

Parent Jotivini Rusaqoli said even mothers with newborn babies from those villages had to use the crossing when visiting Saqani Health Centre.

"So parents have to accompany their children across the wooden bridge, especially the small kids because children have fallen into the sea which is deep," Ms Rusaqoli said.

"Men in this village have also helped mothers carry their newborn babies across the bridge because we don't want babies falling into the sea," Ms Rusaqoli said.

"It's really unsafe and we have discussed this issue in village meetings many times."

The makeshift bridge is about 40 metres long and made out of branches and pieces of timber. It is supported by rotten branches tied together to hold the crossing up.

Villager Ratu Wili Bainirova said the branches tied together only sat on the sand in the water.

"We didn't dig because it is deep so we just put down the long branches to sit on the sand, tied it together and built the crossing," he said.

"It is really unsafe and we hope something can be done about it."

Acting commissioner North Alipate Bolalevu said they had already inspected the bridge and measured the length.

"We have completed the initial stages of inspection. It doesn't mean that when the inspection happens, construction will start right away," Mr Bolalevu said.

"The inspection will show us other avenues needed to be taken like technical survey or advice before we can construct a bridge.

"We are aware of that situation in Lakeba Village."