Speaker for 21st April 2015

Photo: President John Graham greets Rev. Eddie Dorransl, with Club Members Ken Parks {our photographer?!?! - WebEd} (L) with John McHenry and Reggie Patterson (R)
Talk by Rev. Eddie Dorrans and a ‘Bridge over the River Galana’
Members convened in Portstewart Golf Club. President John Graham introduced the speaker for today - Rev. Eddie Dorrans.

Eddie (who before becoming a Presbyterian Minister had been a civil engineer) proceeded to give a Power Point Presentation on the construction of a footbridge across the Galana River in Kenya. This river is the country's second longest river.

Over the years, as a result of attacks mainly by crocodile or hippo, many men, women and children have been killed or suffered serious injury whilst wading across the river to get to the other side,-needing to cross to go to school, to attend the health clinic or to set off on the road to Malindi on the coast.

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After much fundraising and the dedication of people like Linda and Derek Roulston (to name but two of many volunteers) the footbridge, the second was completed in April 2012. The first bridge became operational in 2009. These new suspension bridges means that people living on both sides of the river have a safe and(dry) means of crossing from one side to the other without fear of attacks by wild animals. The bridges are used day and daily by motorcycles (used as taxis) bicycles and of course pedestrians young and old.

Eddie also mentioned in his conclusion that a very successful well had been dug and a pump installed on the Shackahola side of the river, where the ground is sandy. It provides clean water for drinking, cooking and washing.

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Eddie took questions from members and the vote of thanks was proposed by John McHenry (himself a Civil Engineer). John knew the complexities in building such a bridge and congratulated Eddie and his team in completing such a project and asked the President to pass on this vote of thanks. This was duly done. 

John Dobson - Press Officer

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Postscript:
Flash floods sweep away the Bombi footbridge over the Galana River
16th April 2013

Recent torrential rain in Kenya has led to flash floods and unheard of water levels with hundreds of bridges throughout the country being swept away.
Among the many bridges washed away is the first of the 'Bridges of Hope' footbridges constructed over the Galana River, at Bombi, in the southeast of the country.
Thankfully, there are no reports of injury or loss of life.
But some of the surrounding villages have had to be evacuated due to the exceptionally high water level in the Galana River and the flooding this has caused on either side.
It seems that the second footbridge, some 10 miles (16km) downstream at Shakahola, has so far withstood the onslaught of the flood waters.
Derek Roulston is hoping to get to the area within the next few days to survey the damage and make an initial assessment of what, if anything, can be done to restore this vital cross-river link, which the local community has come to rely on over the past four years, using it daily to safely cross the crocodile infested river.

AND

GALANA - Bombi suspension footbridge collapse


In April 2013, torrential rain in Kenya led to flash floods and unheard of water levels with hundreds of bridges throughout the country being swept away. Among the many bridges washed away was the first of the 'Bridges of Hope' footbridges constructed over the Galana River, at Bombi, in the southeast of the country. The first six pictures, taken a few days after the collapse, show the extent of the damage. The last three were taken by Eddie & Mary Dorrans on a visit to Bombi on 23rd May, 2013, and show local people taking their lives in their hands to cross the river via what remains of the bridge, despite the severe damage.

For more information follow these links:

PCI Mission Overseas
Flash floods sweep away the Bombi Footbridge
Photos of Footbridge Collapse/