The Kivu Basin region is the most densely populated region of the rift where a concentration of geohazards is also observed. The western branch of the East African Rift, where the Kivu basin is located, is characterized by a strong seismicity as testified by the recorded largest magnitude earthquakes of Africa in 1910 (M 7.3 western Tanzania), 1990 (M 7.0, South Sudan), 1992 (M 7.0, eastern DRC) and 2005 (M 6.8, eastern DRC). A preliminary catalogue compiled by Herrinckx (1959) lists about 800 “felt seisms” between 1909 and 1954 in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. More recently, moderate magnitude earthquakes have hit the Kivu basin area and caused important damages and casualties. One of the last catastrophic earthquakes (M 5.9) was recorded in the Bukavu-Cyangugu area in February 2008: 38 persons died (d’Oreye et al., 2010). Due to the demographic increase more and more people and infrastructure are exposed to the seismic risk in this region. A new earthquake similar to the Rukwa 1910 earthquake (M 7.3) would have catastrophic consequences.
d’Oreye N., Gonzalez P., Shuler A., Oth A., Bagalwa M., Ekström G., Kavotha D., Kervyn F., Lucas C., Lukaya F., Osodundu E., Wauthier C., Fernandez J. (2010) – Source parameters of the 2008 Bukavu-Cyangugu earthquake estimated from InSAR and teleseismic data. Geophysical Journal International 184 (2), 934-948.
Herrinckx. P. (1959) – Séismicité du Congo belge. Acad. Roy. Sci. Col. Cl. Sci. Nat. Méd. Mém. in8° nouv. série 9 (5), 1-55.