New tools against natural hazards in Central Africa
A team of researchers from Belgium and Luxembourg travelled to eastern DR Congo from 4 to 13 December 2016, where they presented cartographic tools that will assist the decision-making of public authorities tasked with managing the risks of volcanic eruptions, landslides, and earthquakes in the region.
‘Burundi, Rwanda, and eastern DR Congo are regularly visited by natural catastrophes that affect victims and cause significant material damage,' explained project coordinator François Kervyn, a geologist with the Natural hazards service of the Royal Museum for Central Africa. ‘In Bukavu, we showed that 30% of the city stands on landslides. In Nord-Kivu, the city of Goma lives under the constant threat of Nyiragongo, one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Africa.’
‘In collaboration with many local partner institutions, we investigated the risks associated with these geohazards and developed tools that would improve crisis management and also prove useful for urban planning. We created several population density and vulnerability maps, a map of the probability of lava flow invasions in Goma, and a landslide risk map for Bukavu.’
All these tools were presented to the public authorities and scientific partners during a project closure mission from 4 to 13 December 2016 in Bukavu, Goma, and Kigali. For Jean-Marie Bwishe of the Sud-Kivu Protection Civile, this project is in line with a rationale of development cooperation. ‘The project’s results help us define policies that can limit the impact of natural catastrophes on the population. In addition, through its collaborations, it also contributed to building the capacities of our institutions,’ he said.
Funded by the Federal Science Policy office, GeoRisCA (Geo-Risk in Central Africa: integrating multi-hazards and vulnerability to support risk management) was a four-year project (2012-2016) coordinated by the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, in collaboration with the European Center for Geodynamics and Seismology in Luxembourg, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université libre de Bruxelles and Université de Liège.
Read more on the mission blog!