Author: Po River Medical Clinic

Perfect Storm


Trips to Monrovia just got a bit more interesting…

The Timbo Bridge sits on the border between Rivercess and Grand Bassa counties, connecting Rivercess to Monrovia. The bridge is a part of the highway that reaches from Monrovia to all the counties in the Southeast, and it’s out of commission for the foreseeable future. This iron-beam, metal-plated bridge links the major road system in Liberia, supporting the transportation of large trucks towing logs and other goods and supplies intended for the market in Monrovia. Every few years, from the pounding of heavy traffic, a couple of the metal plates will shift, halting traffic for a week or so while welders reattach the plates. In 2011 a logging truck went through plummeting into the river below killing the driver. This year it’s a bit more complicated. Not only have some of the plates fallen through, but the beams are so rusted that a patch-job will not do. In short, this bridge needs a major overhaul! Rumors are that it will be 3-6 months for a permanent solution.

In rainy season, we always expect difficulties in traveling to Monrovia and transporting our supplies back to the clinic. With the addition of a spoiled bridge to the muddy roads, supply runs just got more problematic. The only way to get across the bridge is to walk. The only way to get supplies, whether medical, food, construction, you-name-it, to the other side is to tow it on your head; off-loading from one vehicle and reloading onto another. To top it all off, the truck is stuck on the Rivercess side of the bridge, so any travel outside of the county involves paying for public transportation or hiring a private vehicle. On a lighter note… Steve will have a lot less driving to do! We are working with Mission Aviation Fellowship who recently completed renovations to the airstrip in Cestos (90 minutes from clinic by motorbike and canoe) to help us with transportation of people and medicine. Steve was part of the first passenger flight out of Cestos on June 30th… the last time a plane landed in Cestos with passengers was over 27 years ago! The only problem is that the dirt airstrip is prone to accumulation of standing water so the plane cannot land when its raining… and this is rainy season.

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JULY UPDATE: Bridge is back open but the muddy road remains a mess.