Goma

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Goma
Goma City & Lakeside Lake Kivu, Congo DRC
Goma City & Lakeside Lake Kivu, Congo DRC
Goma is located in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Goma
Goma
Location in the Congo
Coordinates: 1°41′S 29°14′E / 1.683°S 29.233°E / -1.683; 29.233
Country Democratic Republic of the Congo
Province North Kivu
Government
 • Mayor Polydor Windi Kwawmrwha
Area
 • Total 75.72 km2 (29.24 sq mi)
Population (2012)
 • Total 1,000,000[1]
Time zone DRC2 (UTC+2)
National language Swahili

Goma is a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The lake and the two cities are in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift system. Goma lies only 13 to 18 km due south of the crater of the active Nyiragongo Volcano. The recent history of Goma has been dominated by the volcano and the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, which in turn fuelled the First and Second Congo Wars. The aftermath of these events was still having effects on the city and its surroundings in 2010. The city was captured by rebels during the M23 rebellion in late 2012, but has since been retaken by government forces.

Goma is capital of North Kivu province, ethnically and geographically similar to South Kivu (capital Bukavu); the two provinces are known as "the Kivus".

Effects of the Rwandan Genocide[edit]

Goma at the centre of the refugee crisis[edit]

The Rwandan Genocide of 1994 was perpetrated by the Hutu-dominated provisional Rwandan government on the Tutsi population and Hutu moderates. In response the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), formed by Tutsi refugees in Uganda, which already controlled large areas of northern Rwanda following its 1990 invasion and the ongoing Civil War, overthrew the Hutu government in Kigali and forced it to relocate to the border town of Gisenyi. As the RPF captured ground, thousands of Hutu refugees fled before it, many ending up in Gisenyi. Then, from July 13 to July 14, 1994, 10,000–12,000 refugees per hour crossed the border into Goma as the Great Lakes refugee crisis took shape. The massive influx created a severe humanitarian crisis, as there was an acute lack of shelter, food and water. Shortly after the arrival of nearly one million refugees, a deadly cholera outbreak claimed thousands of lives in the Hutu refugee camps around Goma.

Goma in the First Congo War[edit]

Hutu militias and members of the Hutu provisional government were among the refugees, and they set up operations from the camps around Goma attacking ethnic Tutsis in the Kivus and Rwandan government forces at the border. For political reasons the Kinshasa government of the then Zaire led by Joseph Mobutu did not prevent the attacks, and so the Rwandan government and its Ugandan allies threw their support behind the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Zaire, a rebel movement led by Laurent Kabila against Mobutu. Rwandan forces stormed the camps at Goma, resulting in thousands of additional deaths, and with their help and that of Uganda, Kabila went on to overthrow Mobutu's regime in the First Congo War, which ended in 1997.

Goma in the Second Congo War[edit]

Within a year Kabila had quarrelled with his former allies, and in 1998 the Rwandan government backed a Goma-based rebel movement against Kabila, the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD, sometimes called RCD-Goma) made of Banyamulenge people, related to the Tutsis. They captured Bukavu and other towns, and the Second Congo War began. The Goma refugee camps, in which the Hutu had created a militia called the FDLR (Democratic Force for the Liberation of Rwanda), were again attacked by Rwandan government forces and the RCD.

The Second Congo War was unprecedented in Africa for the loss of civilian life in massacres and atrocities. By 2003 the Banyamulenge had become tired of the war and friction emerged between them and Rwanda. In 2002 and 2003 a fragile negotiated peace emerged between the many sides involved in the war.

Conflict since the end of the war[edit]

Aerial view of Goma, October 2010

There have been numerous outbreaks of violence since 2003. The Hutu FDLR remains in the forests and mountains north and west of Goma, carrying out attacks on the Rwandan border and on the Banyamulenge. The Congolese defence forces are unable or unwilling to stop them, and as a consequence Rwanda continues to support Banymulenge rebels such as the RCD and General Nkunda, and to carry out incursions into North Kivu in pursuit of the FDLR.[2]

In September 2007 large-scale fighting threatened to break out again as the 8,000-strong militia of General Nkunda, based around Rutshuru, broke away from integration with the Congolese army and began attacking them in the town of Masisi north-west of Goma. MONUC (United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) began airlifting Congolese troops into Goma and transferring them by helicopter from Goma International Airport to Masisi.[2]

On October 27, 2008, the Battle of Goma broke out in the city between the Congolese army, supported by MONUC, and Nkunda's CNDP rebels; 200,000 refugees fled the town.[3]

Goma was seized by the M23 movement on November 20, 2012.[4] "Tens of thousands" of civilians fled the area.[5]

Politics[edit]

Goma is represented in the National Assembly by six deputies:

  • Désiré Konde (ARC)
  • Jason Luneno (UNC)
  • Butondo Muhindo (MSR)
  • Naasson Kubya (COFEDEC)
  • Elvis Mutiri (ADR)
  • Dieudonné Kambale (UDECF)

Volcanic activity around Goma[edit]

The Great Rift Valley is being pulled apart, leading to earthquakes and the formation of volcanoes in the area.

2002 Eruption of Nyiragongo[edit]

Computer image of Nyiragongo volcano generated from satellite photographs, showing the Goma-Gisenyi conurbation on the lake shore in the foreground. In the background, left, is the Nyamuragira volcano.

In January 2002, Nyiragongo erupted, sending a stream of lava 200 metres (219 yd) to one kilometre (1,100 yd) wide and up to two metres (6½ ft) deep through the center of the city as far as the lake shore. Agencies monitoring the volcano were able to give a warning and most of the population of Goma evacuated to Gisenyi. The lava destroyed 40% of the city (more than 4,500 houses and buildings). There were some fatalities caused by the lava and by emissions of carbon dioxide, which causes asphyxiation. The lava also covered over the northern 1 km of the 3-kilometre (10,000 ft) runway of Goma International Airport, isolating the terminal and apron which were at that end.[6] The lava can easily be seen in satellite photographs,[7] and aircraft can be seen using the 2-km (6,500-ft) southern section of the runway which is clear of lava.

In 2005, volcanic activity again threatened the city.

Currently the scientists at Goma are monitoring Nyiragongo.

The threat posed by Lake Kivu[edit]

Main article: Limnic eruption

Lake Kivu is one of three lakes in Africa identified as having huge quantities of dissolved gas held at pressure in its depths. Two of the others, Lake Monoun and Lake Nyos, experienced a limnic eruption or 'lake overturn', a catastrophic release of suffocating carbon dioxide probably triggered by landslides. Lake Nyos overturn was particularly lethal, killing nearly two thousand people in the area around the lake. Kivu is 2,000 times bigger than Lake Nyos and also contains dissolved methane as an additional hazard - though concentration of carbon dioxide is much lower than in Lake Nyos.[8] Nearly two million people including the population of Goma live in the vicinity of Lake Kivu and could be in danger from a limnic eruption triggered by one of the nearby volcanoes and the earthquakes associated with them.[9]

The phenomena known locally as 'mazuku' has killed children even more recently.[10]

Climate[edit]

Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as tropical wet and dry (Aw).[11]

Climate data for Goma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 25.6
(78.1)
25.7
(78.3)
25.7
(78.3)
25.4
(77.7)
25.3
(77.5)
25.3
(77.5)
25.2
(77.4)
25.8
(78.4)
25.9
(78.6)
25.7
(78.3)
25.3
(77.5)
25.4
(77.7)
25.52
(77.94)
Daily mean °C (°F) 20
(68)
20.1
(68.2)
20.1
(68.2)
20
(68)
19.9
(67.8)
19.4
(66.9)
19.7
(67.5)
19.8
(67.6)
19.8
(67.6)
19.9
(67.8)
19.7
(67.5)
19.9
(67.8)
19.86
(67.74)
Average low °C (°F) 14.4
(57.9)
14.6
(58.3)
14.6
(58.3)
14.7
(58.5)
14.6
(58.3)
13.6
(56.5)
13.1
(55.6)
13.9
(57)
14
(57)
14.2
(57.6)
14.1
(57.4)
14.4
(57.9)
14.18
(57.53)
Precipitation mm (inches) 94
(3.7)
84
(3.31)
117
(4.61)
119
(4.69)
108
(4.25)
55
(2.17)
29
(1.14)
70
(2.76)
117
(4.61)
143
(5.63)
138
(5.43)
118
(4.65)
1,192
(46.95)
Avg. rainy days 16 16 19 22 18 8 6 8 15 20 22 19 189
Mean daily sunshine hours 5 5 5 5 5 6 7 5 5 5 5 5 5.3
Source #1: Climate-Data.org, altitude: 1531m[11]
Source #2: Weather2Travel for rainy days and sunshine[12]

Other features of Goma[edit]

  • The city centre is only 1 km (0.6 mi) from the Rwandan border and 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from the centre of Gisenyi.
  • After being closed to international travel since the 2002 eruption of the volcano, the Goma International Airport now accepts commercial charter flights and also a passenger line travels from Nairobi to Goma.
  • Goma has four or five lakeside wharves totaling about 130 m, the longest being about 80 m.
  • Virunga National Park, home to endangered mountain gorillas, lies north of the city.
  • National Road No. 2 connected Goma to Bukavu and Kisangani but at August 2007 had not been reopened after the damage caused by the wars and lack of maintenance.
  • Goma was once known for its nightlife, but this is no longer the case due to the conflict.
  • As of 2014, an art gallery had opened, featuring local woodcarving, painting, and puppets.[13]
  • The roads in Goma were in poor repair, and also many roads were heavily damaged from the recent volcanic lava flow disasters. Many roads are being rebuilt as of 2011, primarily by Chinese contractors.
  • In March 16, 2013 United Nations Volunteers and the MONUSCO organised a Tshukudu race in Goma.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Goma: M23 rebels capture DR Congo city". BBC News. 20 November 2012. Archived from the original on 18 November 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Fear of fresh conflict in Congo as renegade general turns guns on government forces." Chris McGreal, The Guardian, Monday September 3, 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
  3. ^ "U.N. says recent Congo fighting uproots 200,000". CNN. 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2008-10-28. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Congolese rebels seize Goma, take airport." Melanie Goubyrukmini Callimachi, "Bloomberg BusinessWeek", Tuesday November 20, 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  5. ^ Pete Jones; Jerome Delay (23 November 2012). "Congo Violence: Tens of Thousands of Civilians Flee Goma". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Cooperative Observations at Nyiragongo Volcano in D.R. of Congo". Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
  7. ^ Google Earth has high resolution photographs showing the affected part of the airport at coordinates -1.658, 29.237. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
  8. ^ Halbwachs, et al. (2002-03-09). "Investigations in Lake Kivu(East Central Africa) after the Nyiragongo Eruption of January 2002: Specific study of the impact of the sub-water lava inflow on the lake stability" (pdf). Solidarities. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  mirror
  9. ^ "Killer Lakes". BBC Two, Thursday 4 April 2002. Summarised at www.bbc.co.uk.
  10. ^ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3215_volcanoc.html
  11. ^ a b "Climate: Goma - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Goma Climate and Weather Averages, Congo-Kinshasa". Weather2Travel. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Helping artists in the middle of conflict". Deutsche Welle. 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  14. ^ "Defeated Congo rebels surrender". Reuters / Gulf Times. 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  15. ^ http://mulopwemustafa.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/inauguration-du-nouveau-batiment-de-letat-civil-de-la-mairie-de-goma/
  16. ^ http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/citizenship./funding/2013/call_action1_11_2013_en.php

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 1°41′S 29°14′E / 1.683°S 29.233°E / -1.683; 29.233