Definitions

Bukavu

Bukavu

[boo-kah-voo]
Bukavu, city (1984 pop. 167,950), capital of Sud-Kivu province, E Congo (Kinshasa), a port on Lake Kivu. It is an administrative, commercial, and transportation center. Tea and coffee are processed. The city was founded in 1901 and was formerly known as Costermansville. The city has a teachers college and a school of mines. The Mururu hydroelectric plant is there.

Bukavu is a city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), lying at the extreme south-eastern extent of Lake Kivu, west of Cyangugu in Rwanda, and separated from it by the outlet of the Ruzizi River. It is the capital of the Sud-Kivu province and has a population of over 245,000, with another 250,000 people living in the surrounding towns and villages.

History

Bukavu was established in 1901 by the Belgian colonial authorities. Originally named Costermansville (or Costermansstad in Dutch), it had a prominent European population under colonial rule. They were attracted by the subtropical climate (Lake Kivu is 1,500 metres above sea level) and scenic location (Bukavu is built on five peninsulas and has been described as "a green hand, dipped in the lake"). Many colonial villas have gardens sloping down to the shore.

By contrast, the main residential district for ordinary people, Kadutu, climbs up the hillside inland. The surrounding hills reach a height of 2,000 metres.

Formerly an administrative centre for the whole of the Kivu region, the town lost some of its status as result of the growth of Goma. Following the Rwandan Genocide, Hutu refugees and many members of the former Hutu-led government fled as part of the Great Lakes refugee crisis. The refugee camps around Goma and Bukavu became a center of the Hutu insurgency from the camps against the new Tutsi government of Rwanda. In November 1996 at the start of the First Congo War, Rwandan government forces consequently attacked the Hutu camps, and forces of the then Zaire government which allowed the insurgency. The Rwandan government supported rebels in Zaire led by Laurent Kabila who overthrew the Kinshasa government with their help, and then fell out with them, leading to the Second Congo War. Rwanda supported the rebel Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) against Kabila. The RCD was dominated by the Banyamulenge, allies of the Tutsi and Bukavu saw sporadic fighting between government forces and the RCD, especially in 2004.

On June 3 2004, protestors in several Congolese cities took to the streets to demonstrate against the United Nations for failing to prevent Bukavu from falling to Rwandan-backed RCD forces led by General Nkunda. About 16.000 women were raped on a single weekend after General Nkunda said told his troops "This city is yours for three days. In September 2007 Nkunda, who had been persuaded to fall in line with the peace accords which ended the war and re-integrate his troops with the Congolese government forces, again rebelled and started attacking government troops north of Goma.

Transport

Bukavu was an important transport hub and gateway to eastern DR Congo, but as a result of the wars the road network has deteriorated and highways to Goma, Kisangani and other towns have not been fully restored. As with Goma, close proximity to the paved road network of East Africa and the functioning eastern section of the Trans-African Highway to Mombasa may allow a faster recovery than other Congolese towns. Bukavu's proximity to the Lake Tanganyika ports of Bujumbura and Kalundu-Uvira give it an additional advantage, with access on the lake to the railheads of Kigoma (linked to Dar es Salaam) and Kalemie (rail link to Katanga, in need of rehabilitation).

Bukavu has numerous lakeside wharves and boat transport is used extensively in the Congolese waters of the lake in the absence of well maintained roads.

Kavumu Airport (ICAO code:FZMA, IATA code: BKY) located about 30 kilometres north is the domestic airport for Bukavu.

Medical care

Bukavu is home to the Panzi Hospital.

Status of Women

Women continue to face major problems of violence in the wake of war in the eastern DRC. Fondation chirezi in August 2007 launched a project for women's trauma healing and care, based in Bukavu

Natural hazards: Lake Kivu

Although not threatened by volcanoes as Goma is, Bukavu is equally in danger from a potential limnic eruption from Lake Kivu, in which vast quantities of dissolved carbon dioxide and methane could explode from the lake and threaten the lives of the 2 million people who live near the lake.

Other features

References

  • Diallo, Siradiou (1975). Le Zaire aujourd'hui. Editions Jeune Afrique. ISBN 2-85258-021-7.
  • UN Department for Humanitarian Affairs, Inter-Regional Information Network briefings IRIN

External links

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