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Nyiragongo Volcano and the Volcanic Observatory of Goma, Congo

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Uploaded on Nov 6, 2009

On January 17th, 2002, Nyiragongo volcano erupted. Lava flows ran across the town of Goma (600,000 inhabitants), and ended up in Lake Kivu. At that time, the town of Goma was in the hands of Congolese rebels, supported by the Rwandan regular army, so the central government of DRC did not take any security measures for survivors and homeless people. The population had the time to run away from the town, so only some hundred people died, but thousands of houses were destroyed and the rest was pillaged by the Rwandan army.

Three years after the eruption, the inhabitants of Goma are reconstructing their houses on the solidified lava flows, on the exact spots their homes had been destroyed. If a new eruption took place, those new houses would be swept away and burnt again. The international community finances a Volcanic Observatory in Goma, where some Congolese scientists, under the supervision of famous Belgian volcanologist Jacques Durieux, try to forecast the next eruption and, with the help of the local authorities, hope to be able to evacuate the town as quickly as possible to reduce the number of victims.

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