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Story Publication logo October 28, 2022

Victims of the Rusumo Falls Dam Construction Site Without Water or Food (French)

A view of a national park in Tanzania. There is a tree in the background with lush green grass and a road for safari vehicles to drive on..

This project aims to show the impact of hydroelectric dam construction on deforestation, animals...

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This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit Ibihe.org. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Image by ibihe.org. Burundi, 2022.

BUJUMBURA, Burundi—"On this hill, the animals were visible. Many tourists liked to visit our region to see them. Their habitat destroyed, these animals have taken refuge in Tanzania where they do not feel threatened."

These words are from Jean Népomucène Hakizimana, who met in Nyankurazo near the town of Rusumo, in eastern Rwanda, a border region with Tanzania, to reveal the harmful effects of the construction of the Rusumo Falls hydroelectric power plant between Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

To build this infrastructure, which is expected to provide 80 megawatts of electricity to the power grids of the three aforementioned countries, an area of at least 24, 081 hectares was destroyed for the construction of towers and substations, according to an assessment by the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP).

"Before, we had banana plantations. In order to install the pylons, they were all decimated, which was the reason for the decrease in our sources of income."

Audio by ibihe.org. Burundi, 2022.

A map of the Rusumo basin where the two rivers meet influences the construction of the hydroelectric plant for three countries. Image by ibihe.org. Burundi, 2022.

The water drainage system of the Rusumo hydroelectric dam runs waste directly into the river. Image by ibihe.org. Burundi, 2022.