Opening in Goma of the 1st international conference on the management of the Virunga volcanoes

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Goma, March 21st, 2022 (CPA) – The Minister of State in charge of Regional Planning, Guy Loando Mboyo, representative of the Head of State, opened on Saturday at the Serena Hotel in Goma, capital of the province of North Kivu, the first international conference on the management of the Virunga volcanoes under the theme: « monitoring and management of volcanic risks in the Virunga region: solution and prospects ».

« The Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira volcanoes represent a permanent danger not only for the population of Goma but also for those of its surroundings », recognized in his word of circumstance, the envoy of President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi, before indicating that the two volcanoes feature on the list of the world’s most active volcanoes that draw attention to this dance-populated Great Lakes region. The Minister of State Me Guy Loando, on this occasion, recalled that « the recent eruptions of the Nyiragongo volcano, in particular that of 1977, 2002 and 2021 last, caused numerous losses in human lives and socio-economic material damage. very important. It is therefore crucial to continue efforts in monitoring volcanic hazards, anticipating volcanic risk management in the Virunga region in order to reduce the impact of possible future eruptions”.

For his part, the Minister of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation, José Mpanda Kabangu, revealed that « the Prime Minister during his visit to Goma after the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano in May 2O21 said that nothing will be the same before. This is how I was instructed and in my ministry so that we could come to reflect with others.

And to add: “I know that the eruption is a natural disaster but we must take all the precautions so that the population can be protected. It happened that the daily management of the volcano was not close. There were shortcomings because the scientific agents of the Volcano logical Observatory of Goma (OVG) were not well supervised by the government.

Everything was linked with the partners who came to help the OVG to function. With the eruption that happened, we decided at the level of the government that all the faults that existed before could not be reborn again”.

This is how we must collaborate with the OVG and certain scientists in the world who have made it possible to overcome the flaws that existed… This is what led to the organization of this conference so that « scientists can come up with proposals and recommendations to the government so that we can have the tool and protect the population”.

In a presentation, the Minister of Industry and honorary governor of the province of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, broadly outlined the contingency plan designed during his reign with an emphasis on the potential evacuation site in the event of an eruption at least for Nyiragongo. Long before, in his welcome address, the military governor of North Kivu province, Lieutenant General Constant Ndima Kongba, had the right words to salute the choice of the tourist town of Goma to house these high-quality foundations.

He was delighted that at the end of this work, the volcanoes will certainly be well monitored and the citizens will be sheltered by the development of a protective contingency plan. This conference has the merit of bringing together around a platform scientific of national and international researchers and experts in volcanology and in related disciplines in order to take stock of knowledge on the behavior of the Virunga volcanoes in the tectonic context of the East African Rift and to contribute to the strengthening of monitoring and management volcanic risks in the region based on lessons learned from the last three eruptions of the Nyiragongo volcano and their socio-economic impacts and Environmental.

This conference therefore aims to increase the monitoring capacities of the OVG and to decide on its support by various scientific, technical and financial partners as well as on the contingency plan which will anticipate the management of volcanic risks.

At the end of this three-day work, which is carried out in presentations, panels, team work and poster exhibitions containing various research results on volcanoes, a document in the form of an act of the international conference on volcanoes Virunga, will be developed, it says. Five members of the Sama Lukonde government, namely the ministers of scientific research José Mpanda, industry Julien Paluku, regional planning Guy Loando, health Jean-Jacques Mbungani and that of the ESU, Muhindo Nzangi as well that scientists and researchers from different backgrounds, the participants will thus reflect in order to put in place an appropriate strategy and methodologies for monitoring volcanoes. ACP/