Goma

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Image:Goma Church.jpg
Goma Church in 2005

Goma located at 1°41′S 29°14′E is a city of 160,000 in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Located in the Western Rift of the Great Rift Valley, Goma neighbors the active Nyiragongo Volcano directly to its north, and hugs the coast of Lake Kivu to its south. The city lies next to the Virunga National Park and has a small airport. It is connected to the town of Kisangani and the rest of the country via National Road No. 2. The city was known for its nightlife.

Goma was one of the locations Hutu Rwandans fled to during the genocide of 1994 (the Rwandan provisional government being based in neighbouring Gisenyi). 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 1997 and 1998, government forces from Rwanda stormed the camps at Goma, resulting in thousands of additional deaths.

Volcanic fissures from Nyiragongo extend underneath the streets and there is a possibility that Lake Kivu may experience a limnic eruption. In 2002, Nyiragongo erupted, sending a stream of lava through the center of the city. The lava destroyed 40% of the city and paved over part of the airport's runway. In 2005, volcanic activity again threatened the city.


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