Broken Bridge Leaves Community Stranded

I grew up on a mission center called Ukarumpa in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.  There is one road in and out of this community of people, which by our standards would be considered a small town in the country.  It is home to around 600 people.  Anyone traveling to Ukarumpa must cross a one lane bridge.  The bridge has been in use for 52 years and has received very little maintenance in that time.  It broke yesterday when a fuel tank carrying 20,000 liters of diesel crossed over to supply the only fuel station in the small town.  Fortunately, the driver only had a few broken bones and the passenger was unharmed.

Bridge2Both the bridge and the truck fell into the river below.  You can see from the pictures that it is beyond repair.  Reports are saying that even foot traffic is near impossible and discouraged.  A friend of mine who still lives there posted on her facebook page that Ukarumpa had recently received a supply of goods for the one grocery store.  So the store is currently well stocked.

Plans will soon be in place to get a functioning bridge as soon as possible, but it is uncertain when that will be.  The town has no way to get resupplied for food, goods, and fuel without a bridge.  My prayers are certainly with the people who live there as well as the indigenous people in surrounding villages who are also affected by this disaster.  The good news is that the local people have wonderful gardens with a growing season that lasts all year.  They will not starve.

The other issue facing this area is the result of the fuel that spilled in the water.  The river is a major water source for many of the local people.  They use it for washing, cooking and drinking.  These people must now find other ways to get water.

Food and water.  Is your family prepared for any situation that may cause you to lose your ability to get re-supplied from your grocery store?  How long can you live on what is in your pantry?  Do you have a plan to obtain good clean water if the water from your faucet is contaminated or unavailable?

I have one more thought as it relates to prepping and homesteading.  Perhaps the best place to build a town (especially if you are thinking about building a self-sustainable homestead) is not one that has only one way accessible by vehicle over a body of water.  I’m not saying that the founders of Ukarumpa were thinking about preparedness.  I’m pretty sure they were not.  But this is a good lesson for those of us who think about such things.

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About JaimieB

Jaimie lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead known online as An American Homestead. They live with their two sons and her parents Tim and Joann on 50 acres located deep in the American Ozark Mountains.

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One comment

  1. Which mission organization were you with in PNG ?

    Are the Ukarumpa in the Highlands, Sepic or Island region ?

    We currently live in Washington Mo, and just love your videos and heart attitudes.

    We are, and have been praying to be able to live the lifestyle you and your family are living.

    We are somewhat familiar with the general Ozark area as my Dad lives at the Lake.

    Thank you for sharing !

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