North and South Kivu: MONUSCO rehabilitates bridges of socio-economic importance
For many years, MONUSCO has provided technical, logistical and financial support for the rehabilitation and construction of bridges, not only to facilitate the mobility of the Blue Helmets in their operations to protect civilians, but also to improve the communication routes of communities across the vast country of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The construction of the Lushoga and Kihira bridges (North Kivu) and the Nyangezi bridge (South Kivu) is a perfect example of MONUSCO's collaboration with Congolese actors, in particular the Office des Routes (ODR).
MONUSCO, through its Operations and Planning Unit and its Civil Engineering Office, built a temporary bridge in Kihira in 2021, supported the Roads Office with materials (complete modular steel bridge, construction materials, tools) and logistical support for the construction of the Lushoga bridge delivered in May 2022. In addition, the Roads Office was responsible for the complete rehabilitation of the Kihira bridge, built the Lushoga and Nyangeri bridges and recently handed over to the communities.
In 2022, MONUSCO provided financial, technical and logistical support while the local partner is responsible for the implementation of the project by applying its "know-how" from decades of engineering activities. "For years, we have been helping Congolese communities through the rehabilitation of structures of socio-economic importance, such as bridges and roads. MONUSCO always does this in partnership with Congolese actors specialised in construction and rehabilitation works," notes Gabriele Borla, in charge of the Civil Engineering section at MONUSCO.
Once completed, the bridges enabled the communities of Walikale and Masisi to access other parts of the DRC. This will greatly improve the living conditions of the population, as access to goods, medical facilities and schools is improved, while business opportunities for the local communities allow them to supply Goma with various locally produced goods.
According to Papy Minga Malenga, Provincial Director of the North Kivu Roads Office, "the rehabilitation of the Lushoga bridge has considerably improved the living conditions of the population. Previously, the wooden bridge was often flooded every time it rained, disrupting the movement of vehicles and people. Since the installation of the new bridge, people are happy because this problem has been solved for good.”
From a technical point of view, the 15-metre long Lushoga Bridge is supported by two side pillars, each over six metres high. Construction took less than eight months and was handed over by the local authorities in May 2022.
The Nyangezi bridge (South Kivu), nine metres long and spanning the Cihanda River, is located about 30 km from Bukavu on the only road leading to Uvira. A population of more than one million people depends on this road (RN 5) for trade and livelihoods (linking the DRC, Rwanda and Burundi borders) as well as for the protection of displaced populations from Fizi against armed groups near the Uvira plateau.
On the MONUSCO side, the projects were monitored and coordinated by the Civil Engineering section in Goma (operations unit) in close collaboration with the MovCon section (air transport), the Bangladeshi military civil engineering unit and the MONUSCO security services. This proves that the success of these projects, not only internally but also externally, is due to a combination of technical knowledge, collaboration, organisation and teamwork.