Women carry firewood along the riverfront in Yangambi, DR Congo, on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. The largest building in Yangambi faces the riverfront and was perviously a maintenance centre and repair garage for the entire facility. It now lies abandoned and derelict. .Yangambi Research Station is the former Belgian headquarters for all major scientific ecological, biological and agricultural research in Africa between the 1930's and 1960. It stretches for 33 km inland from the river and contains 250 residential houses and many research buildings and offices, including a herbarium and library. At it's height approximately 250 scientists and 500 technicians were based here along with 1000 more Belgian workers ranging from doctors to bricklayers. With the families and constant visitors to the station included the total population of would have ranged in the several thousands. Abandonment began in 1960 with independence and although Congolese attempted to maintain Yangambi, sometimes in co-operation with the Belgians, the facility began to fall into disrepair through the 70's and 80's. War in the 1990's halted all potential for progress and for the past decade a skeleton crew has made a futile attempt to stave off further decline.