The town of Bukavu nowadays

The town of Bukavu, the capital of the South Kivu was built in the 1910’s during the period of Belgian colonization known as the Belgian Congo. It is located on the shore of the Lake Kivu and neighbors the Kamembe town of the West Province of Rwanda, only separated by the river Ruzizi. The Belgians built this beautiful town to accommodate approximately 4,000 people and the houses made of burnt bricks, soil and sand added the beauty to this town. The population of this town reached 10,000 people in the 1960s. Tourists came from all over the world to enjoy the beauty, rich green of this town, and moreover, the gorillas in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.

Some big changes occurred simultaneously early in the 1990’s when the war started in the Great Lakes region. In 1994 the hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees came into the DRC and settled around the town and the park. In 1996 the devastating war that was to chase out the dictatorial power started in the DRC. This war had two different facts, (1) the impact on the natural resources which was to extract coltan, cassiterite, gold, wildlife, etc. by international dealers who used dealers from the neighbor countries, (2) the concentration of the population in the small town of Bukavu that was caused by the influx of displaced people who escaped from the rural areas due to the high level of insecurity. Many young girls, old women were raped by mostly unidentified armed people: the pronounced pillage and massacres weighed on people.

IMG_6311-smallLocal dealers earned money from the mineral trade and built houses without choosing areas in the hilly town of Bukavu. As a result, the monthly house rent exceeds $3,000 for the first class houses and $300 for the last hand houses. Nowadays, over 1 million of people are concentrated in the little town that was built for just 4,000 people.

In addition, the earthquake that occurred on February 2008, shook soils and houses. It poses a danger for the future. Many house fall down even twice a month when a heavy rain falls.

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