Humanitarian Crisis Looms over Kokoyah


By Jefferson Massah


Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted June 9, 2006


Reports emerging from the newly created Kokoyah Statutory District in Bong County indicate a looming humanitarian crisis due to the collapse of a major bridge that links the district with the rest of the county.

Local authorities informed The FORUM that due to this situation, there has been an outbreak of childhood diseases among children resulting to high death toll.

Also pregnant women in the area in recent times have been dying due to lack of commercial vehicles to transport patients in critical condition to the only referral hospital in Phebe.

The District Commissioner of Jorquelleh, Edward Yarkpawolo who has been exerting efforts to have the damaged Bhelai Bridge reconstructed, lamented that he recently witnessed the death of two pregnant women in childbirth while they were en route to the Phebe Hospital.

Commissioner Yarkparwolo said the two women were carried by villagers in the hammock because vehicle was not available to have them transported from their remote village which is about two-day walk from Gbarnga.

Apart from the appalling heath condition, the prices of locally produced commodities have sharply increased in Gbarnga and its environs due to the complete breakdown of commercial activities in Kokoyah which is considered to be food basket of Bong County. The district supplies half of the food on local market in Gbarnga.

The only active means of transportation over the Bhelai River is through a locally made ferry that usually transports light materials and people from one end of the river to the other. But safety has become a point of focus because commuters usually complain of accidents which always cause them to lose their goods.

Inhabitants of Bhelai Town and surrounding villages knowing the importance of the bridge, recently gathered local materials such as sand and gravel when the European Union through a local NGO operating in Gbarnga signed a Memorandum of Understanding early this year with the county authorities to have this strategic bridge reconstructed.

However, the citizens’ high hope was dashed recently when EU Representative for Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia, Michel Arrion, visited the bridge with Bong County Superintendent Rennie B. Jackson at which time it was disclosed that the European Union could start reconstruction of the bridge in December this year or early 2007. Accordingly, resources were not available and furthermore rainy season was already around.

© 2006: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved. Forum can reached at: