Urban planning in Goma had begun before the eruption of Nyiragongo. The recent awakening of the volcano, the destruction and displacement of the population that it has caused gives these projects a new urgency. Minister of Urbanism Pius Mwabilu gives details.
How to alleviate congestion in Goma and more easily predict seismic events? Experts from the Higher Institute of Architecture and the Urban Study and Development Office have been thinking about it since October 2020. The Congolese government has entrusted them with the support of the World Bank with the task of preparing a city plan. Benchmark and an action plan for 2035.
A real headache given the difficulties of land use in the provincial capital. Caught between Lake Kivu, the volcano, the city of Gisenyi and the national parks, Goma still attracts more and more inhabitants: 1.6 million today according to the authorities, in a space planned for 600,000 people.
Should we keep the huge roundabouts that make up green islands but occupy large areas of the city? Develop the beaches and boarding to South Kivu? The preferred solution is the creation of two new districts, Saké 2 and Saké 3, northwest of Goma. According to the Minister of Urban Planning, they could initially accommodate 55,000 families. There are also plans to negotiate with the international community for a new road axis that “structures a direction of at least 20 meters” to these new cities to open up Goma.
The urban planning project does not plan to move the city of Goma but to move certain neighborhoods, including some of the districts destroyed by the volcano, towards Saké, northeast of the city. Details of Minister of Urban Planning Pius Mwabilu:
What must be ruled out is an extension of Goma itself. That is why we are proposing that the people in the affected districts be moved to Saké 2 and 3. It is a temporary work for the next fifteen years. […] Prioritization of priorities, as soon as the issue is examined by the Council of Ministers, is the profitability of this website, and that is the role of the state.
Meanwhile, the Nyiragongo volcano has calmed down. According to researchers, satellite images no longer detect significant movements of magmas in the region. But Nyiragongo is not extinct. Earthquakes and ash outbreaks may still occur in the coming weeks or months in Lake Kivu, experts add, and another eruption should not be ruled out in the future.
The impressive crack on Goma Mountain above, which is the headquarters of the Goma Volcanological Observatory (OVG), has become an attraction. As here, the deformation of the soil is visible in several places in the city, especially in this area. That researchers and authorities call a “red zone” that extends over several districts. An area based on a lava flow probability map.
“There are other spaces in the city of Goma that can be identified as such. This is, for example, the Mugunga area, the fiftieth anniversary where the probability of lava flow is quite high “, geographer Caroline Michellier indicates to our special correspondent. Patient Ligodi.
Today, a certain important infrastructure for the population, such as water reservoirs, is based on old cracks. “The example that emerges from this eruption is the Bushara Reservoir, which was founded a few years ago, but without taking into account the fact that there were cracks from 2002 that were there and that these cracks could be opened and that was the case for this eruption,” he continues. Caroline Michellier.
Albert Kiambikua, an expert in the seismology department at OVG, hopes that the damage in the city will increase awareness: “Until then, we have not established the code for seismic standards. If we had taken these standards into account during construction, we could vibrate today, but we should not find such distractions. “
The Prime Minister announced that the city will be transformed. However, in the opinion of the experts, it will be necessary to establish a relationship between OVG and the various technical services, such as cadastre, urban planning and housing, by also developing a dialogue with the population.
What population is gradually returning to GomaThe first to return since Monday are those found in the neighboring town of Saké. At the speedy departure to Saké, many children were separated from their parents, unable to find them, hence the mobilization since Sunday of several NGOs. and associations including the RFI club in Goma. The goal is to reunite families before returning to Goma.
With the social services department, UNICEF and other partners, the RFI club was able to set up a reception center for these children and we were able to find no less than 340 children who have returned to their families. With other partners, such as the Red Cross, we have found more than 1,300 children. Families who have lost children can contact us, either the RFI club, the Red Cross or the social department.
Zacharie Bachiwa, head of the RFI club in Goma