Fuel supplies for Lethem on stand-by

Several trucks carrying fuel to the Region 9 were yesterday awaiting the go-ahead to proceed to the area as works undertaken to allow vehicles to traverse an impassable section of the Lethem road are expected to be completed tomorrow.

This newspaper understands that most of the work, which is being undertaken by the Work Services Group of the Public Works Ministry, has been completed. Works Minister Robeson Benn has said that the trucks failed to heed a request not to traverse the savannah section of the trail between Kurupukari and Lethem and this led to deep ruts being created in areas that were about a foot under water.

However, a resident in the area noted that the more impassable sections of the road are located along the Hunt Oil Stretch between Annai and Lethem. Persons in the area also confirmed yesterday that a ban on all forms of vehicular traffic to venture out of the area along the trail remained in place although regional authorities are hoping that traffic would be able to resume within the next two days.

At the same time, residents also hoped for a change in weather patterns, noting that while rains have eased temporarily, more rainfall is expected in the region over the next few weeks.

Trucks transporting fuel and food supplies have been parked alongside the road several miles north of Annai, a resident said, adding that physical checks are being made by motorcyclists from Lethem to determine when vehicular traffic would have been allowed out of the area. This newspaper understands that additional aircraft have been touching down at the Lethem airstrip over the past week, as those person conducting business on the Coastland have leaned towards the more expensive form of travel to and from the area. Airfare per passenger rose from $26,000 to $30,000, a resident said yesterday while the fare to travel by bus increased from $10,000 to almost $15,000.

Fuel stations in the area have been low on fuel and gasoline in particular has become scarce over the past few days while the three gas stations in the area have been economizing on the quantities of diesel in stock.

Engineers attached to the Works Ministry have been working to fix the impassable sections of the trail and the army had been called in to assist in ensuring trucks and other heavy vehicles were not allowed to traverse the road from the Lethem side last Tuesday evening.