Concern Raised Over Lamu’s Footbridge of Death

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Residents of Faza in Lamu East have accused the government for continued endangerment of lives by refusing to reconstruct and expand their only footbridge in the area.

For several years, residents have witnessed frequent accidents and deaths caused by the narrowness of the Faza footbridge.

The bridge which was built two decades ago is the only means of transport for the over 3000 Faza residents, most of whom are fishermen who depend on it for travel in and out of the village.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, locals complained that despite making numerous efforts to have the facility reconstructed and expanded, nothing has been done.

Ali Ahmed appealed to the state to urgently intervene and urgently address the issue.

“It has been over ten years now since we started complaining about the bad state of this footbridge. It continues to claim the lives of our people every time accidents occur. Let them expand the bridge to allow for safer movement,” said Mr Ahmed.

Sharif Abdallah, a boda boda operator in Faza Town said motor vehicles, motorbikes and bicycle users always risk their lives getting across the extremely narrow footbridge.

Donkeys have equally not been spared from the deadly bridge.

The foot bridge measures about 500 metres in length and just about 2.5 metres wide.

It is the only entry point into and out of Faza town in Lamu East.

In early May, a boda boda passenger died on the spot after falling off a motorcycle and plunging into the deep ocean waters below as the rider attempted to avoid hitting a donkey as they were both crossing the bridge.

MrAbdallah appealed to both the county and national governments to intervene and expand the foot bridge to guarantee safety of residents and animals.

“All that is needed is a little expansion and we will be good to go otherwise it is a shame that in this day and age people still die from such carelessness,” said Mr Abdallah.

Hamisi Fahad said because of the narrowness of the bridge, a lot of time is wasted as users have to take turns while using it as opposed to a scenario where they would all be able to cross at one go.

Mr Fahad termed it as a suicide plea for anyone or animal to run or attempt overtaking on the bridge.

“Normally vehicles, motorbikes, donkeys and those on foot have to line up for their turn to cross the narrow footbridge. It is extremely irritating and time wasting. Something needs to be done urgently,” said Mr Fahad.

At least 5 people have fallen off the bridge and died in freak accidents in the last few months which many believe would have been avoided.

Hundreds others have been left with lifelong injuries.

Contacted, Lamu East MP Athman Shariff said he had already written to the Ministry of Transport with the view to have the bridge improved.

"I am aware of the dangers posed by the narrow footbridge at Faza. I have written severally to the concerned ministry.I am looking forward to having the facility rehabilitated. Let's be patient," said Mr Shariff.

In 2015, a motorcyclist died on the spot after he fell into the ocean while attempting to avoid hitting a donkey on the bridge.

In November, 2016, seven Administration Police officers and two civilians narrowly escaped death after their land cruiser slid off the bridge and plunged into the Indian Ocean.

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