The Peace Bridge for a Prosperous Future
The Peace Bridge was inaugurated in Rakhine capital, Sittwe today. It connects more than 4000 villagers to businesses and public services. Photo: Ne Lynn Aung/UNDP
Renata Dessallien, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and H.E. U Hla Han, Minister for Rakhine State Transportation opened the Peace Bridge that connects Ohn Re Paw village with Sittwe Town and neighbouring villages.
The "Peace Bridge" project began in 2014 to fulfill a request of the Rakhine State Government and local communities. UNDP oversaw its design and construction and the project was funded by the governments of Denmark and Japan.
Renata Dessallien said, "The Peace Bridge connecting the rural villages and Sittwe is a symbol of our solidarity with rural communities across Rakhine, where the poverty rate is twice the national average. Poverty reduction for all vulnerable communities in Rakhine will also help toward resolving other pressing challenges weighing heavily on the state. It reflects the strong partnership between the Government of Myanmar, particularly the Rakhine State Government, the United Nations, international donors and local communities, and our collective resolve to reduce poverty across the state."
State Minister, U Hla Han expressed his thanks to the United Nations and donor countries for their support, and expressed the government's commitment to collaborate with the international community for the development of all of Rakhine State.
Prior to the Peace Bridge, more than 4,000 households had difficult access to market and socioeconomic services in the state capital Sittwe. Particularly, school children from villages had difficulties in reaching schools during the long monsoon season when the ferry services are postponed or stopped.
Daw Khin San Win from Ye Chan Pyin village that connects to Ohn Re Paw village said, "During monsoon season, it is so difficult to cross the creek by boat. This bridge now has solved this problem. Villagers from the other side of the creek can now easily access the rural health center in Ye Chan Pyin by jeep. We are so happy about it."
The Peace Bridge now enables rural communities to have safe, easy and all-season access to Sittwe.
The bridge will provide direct access to Rakhine villages and benefit surrounding villages on the east and west banks of the creek. The bridge will help the villages’ access basic public services such as education and healthcare in Sittwe Township and promote trade, including help the resumption of fisheries-related trading and businesses between villages.