Documenting the journey of a Cameroonian filmmaker

Lake Nyos, Disaster looms!

Guys, I just could not sit still with this article. Anyone got any more information on this? If this is true, are there any measures of evacuation being taken by our government? I hope so, otherwise there is something SERIOUSLY and TERRIBLY wrong with our government.


Danger looms! 200 communities, 200,000 families may be wiped out •Taraba, Kogi, Benue, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Anambra others unsafe

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Written by Kehinde Oyetimi with Agency Report Sunday, 31 October 2010

I wish to emphatically reveal that the threat is real and will happen. The people have to be relocated from their present location. -NEMA DG
THE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has sent alert to residents of over 200 communities in Taraba State of impending danger of the high possibility of being swept out by over 132 million cubic metres of flood water which is expected to be released as a result of the possible breakage of Lake Nyos which could take place any moment from now. It is estimated that 200 communities with an average number of 1000 families per community and an average number of 7 people per household in Taraba State may  be sacked if the breakage occurs at the lake.

This alarm was raised on Friday by the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi, during the sensitisation and training programmes of the representatives of the vulnerable communities in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State. The North East Zonal Coordinator, Aliyu Baffale Sambo, who represented the Director General stated that: “The catastrophic consequences of Lake Nyos breakage are better imagined than real as there are over 200 communities within the five local government areas of Bali, Ussa, Takum, Kurmi and Sardauna in Taraba State. I wish to emphatically reveal that the threat is real and would happen. The people have to relocate from the present location.”

In a release signed by the Public Information Officer/Assistant Zonal Coordinator of NEMA Northeast zone, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye and made available to Sunday Tribune, the agency stated that the collapse of the lake of 400-year-old would result into the release of water at an estimated peak discharge of 17,000 cubic metres per second into Kumbi River and would discharge into the Kashimbila River. It was equally stated that the water would flow downhill, flooding the northwest province of Cameroun, some frontline states in Nigeria which would include Anambra, Akwa-Ibom, Cross Rivers, Adamawa, Kogi, Benue, Taraba and some other states in the Niger Delta region.

It was also gathered that the loss during the  flooding would include the submerging and sweeping away of many communities through Taraba into the Benue River and Makurdi. It was revealed that within few hours, it would be felt in Onitsha, Asaba and Lokoja. Thousands of lives and livestock would be lost including the destruction of several thousands of arable lands. The destruction will extend to bridges, public and private infrastructure among many others.

The NEMA boss added that the agency is constrained to begin evacuation and relocation of such areas because there is the need to create buffer zone or safe area which is expected to be located outside a 600-kilometre linear perimeter which is yet to be surveyed and determined.
In anticipation of the eventual outbreak of Lake Nyos, it was stated that NEMA has trained over 200 emergency management volunteer corps; 67 non-governmental organisations; community based organisations, faith based organisations and traditional institutions on emergency preparedness and management


3 comments on “Lake Nyos, Disaster looms!

  1. Bernice Lakota
    November 3, 2010

    My goodness, I remember reciting a poem when I was 8 years old on Tv (Kiddies Corner) about the Lake Nyos disaster that wiped out families, livestock and vegetation. Can’t imagine that many years down the road there would still be a situation as catastrophic as back then.

  2. prgoretti
    November 3, 2010

    I know, this is scary. Imagine if it actually happens. 200.000 people!

  3. Atabs
    November 3, 2010

    I researched, this disaster in my environmental disaster medicine course, during my graduate school of public health training. Lake Nyos is a deep pool of water sitting in the throat of a dormant volcano. The real problem is a pool of hot magma, laying almost 50 miles below the lake.
    The magma releases the carbon dioxide and other gases, which travel upward through the earth. The gases gets trapped in natural spring water, which eventually rises toward the surface and feed into the crater lake. Lake Nyos is thermally stratified (top layer of cold water and bottom layer of hot water)that does not periodically turn over to release the trapped gases. Dissolved gases (CO2) are allowed to accumulate reach much higher concentrations. On August 21, 1986 the gas bubbled out of the lake and causes asphyxiation of local population.The exact cause of the gas release at Lake Nyos is still unresolved. One theory is that a small confined area of the lake released the gas. Another theory describes a slow influx of heat into the system causing instability. A landslide within the lake is another possible explanation for the displacement of the bottom CO2 saturated layers in Lake Nyos. In general, a gradual heating from below the lake is widely accepted as the cause for rollover and or gas release. The gas killed all living things within a 15-mile (25km) radius of the lake.
    Carbon dioxide is heavier than air, and when released, it pours over the rim of the crater and slides down into the surrounding low-lying valley, displaces all the oxygen and suffocates every thing. Carbon dioxide normally makes up 0.03% of air, and concentrations of more than 10% can be fatal. The unfortunate villagers around Lake Nyos literally suffocated under the heavy poisonous cloud of CO2 gas. The studies of Lake Nyos revealed that there was more CO2 forming at depth in the lake that could overturn once again and cause another disaster, so an attempt was made in 2001 to degass the lake using an electronic pump that would simulate an eruption.
    The method consists of a pipe set up vertically between the lake bottom and the surface. This will help pump up the bottom warm water to be continuously mix with the top cold water and thereby slowly releasing the trapped CO2 form below. That system is currently in place and may be the reason why we have not seen any more of this since then. But the threat remains a true, valid and credible threat. So if scientist are now predicting, a possible disaster, this must be taken seriously. Not sure how effective this system has been nor how the Cameroon people have properly maintained it since its installation.

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2010 by in A lil bit of Politics and tagged , , , .
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