how to relieve congestion in the city of Goma in the DRC?



The city of Goma evacuated after the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano, in the DRC.


© AP – Moses Sawasawa
The city of Goma evacuated after the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano, in the DRC.

Urban planning in Goma had started before the eruption of Nyiragongo. The recent reawakening of the volcano, the destruction and displacement of the population that it has caused, give a new urgency to these projects. The Minister of Urban Planning Pius Mwabilu gives details.

How to relieve congestion in Goma and more easily anticipate seismic events? Experts from the Higher Institute of Architecture and the Urban Planning and Study 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 drawing up an urban 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 nevertheless 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 which constitute islands of greenery, but which occupy large areas in the city? Develop the beaches and embarkations to South Kivu? The preferred solution is the creation of two new districts, Saké 2 and Saké 3, north-west of Goma. They could initially accommodate 55,000 families, according to the Minister of Urban Planning. It is also planned to negotiate with the international community a new road axis ” structuring a right-of-way of at least 20 meters To these new towns, in order to open up Goma.

The town-planning project does not plan to move the city of Goma, but to relocate certain neighborhoods, including part of the neighborhoods destroyed by the volcano, towards Saké, northeast of the city. The details of the Minister of Urban Planning Pius Mwabilu:

In the meantime, the Nyiragongo volcano has calmed down. According to scientists, satellite imagery no longer detects significant movements of magmas in the region. But the Nyiragongo is not extinct. Earthquakes and ash fallout could still occur in the weeks or months to come in the Lake Kivu Basin, add experts, and another eruption is not to be ruled out in the future.

The impressive crack on Mount Goma above which is the headquarters of the Goma Volcanological Observatory (OVG) has become an attraction. As here, the deformation of the ground is visible in several places of the city, particularly in what scientists and the authorities call “red zone” which extends on several districts. An area based on a lava flow probability map.

« There are other spaces in the city of Goma that could be identified as such. This is for example the Mugunga area, the fiftieth anniversary area where the probability of lava flow is quite high. », Indicates the geographer Caroline Michellier to our special correspondent Patient Ligodi.

Today, some vital infrastructure for the population, such as water reservoirs, is built on old fractures. ” The example that emerges from this eruption is the Bushara Reservoir which was established a few years ago, but ignoring the fact that there were cracks from 2002 that were there and these cracks could s ‘open and this was the case for this rash », Continues Caroline Michellier.

Albert Kiambikua, expert in the seismology department at the OVG, hopes that the damage in the city will raise awareness: “ So far, the code of seismic standards has not been established. If we had taken these standards into account during construction, today we could vibrate, but we should not find such distractions. »

The Prime Minister announced that the city will be redesigned. But in the opinion of experts, it will be necessary to establish a relationship between the OVG and the various technical services such as cadastre, town planning and housing, while also developing a dialogue with the population.

Which population is gradually returning to Goma. The first to return since Monday are those who found in the neighboring town Sake. At the time of the hasty departure for Sake, many children found themselves separated from their parents, without the possibility of finding them, hence the mobilization since Sunday of several NGOs and associations including the RFI club in Goma. The aim is to reunite families before returning to Goma.

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