20 March 2013

Cameroon: Lake Nyos Stable, Monoun Under Surveillance!

Photo: Monde Kingsley Nfor/IPS
Descendants of victims of the Lake Nyos poisonous gas explosion.

Stakeholders of a Cameroon-Japan funded research project on disaster management met in Yaounde on Wednesrday.

The situation of gas in Lake Nyos, Menchum Division of the North West Region is reportedly stable but in Lake Monoun, West Region, gas is said to be building up again and needs to be kept under check. Scientific researchers working within the framework of a joint Cameroon-Japan funded project on "Magmatic Fluid Supply into Lakes Nyos and Monoun and the mitigation of natural disasters through capacity building in Cameroon" made the revelation in Yaounde yesterday March 20. This was during the second joint coordinating committee meeting of the project which held in the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation and chaired by the Ministry's Secretary General, Madeleine Ebelle Etame Rebecca.

According to the scientific coordinator of the project, Dr. Greg Tanyileke, "we have established that gas is building up again in Lake Monoun, because degassing stopped in 2008. Between 2008 and 2012, fortunately we were doing the monitoring, reason why we noticed that gas was building up again. We will have to put in place a system to pump out the gas continuously to ensure that there is no build-up of gas again over time," he said.

The project, jointly undertaken by Cameroonian and Japanese researchers, stresses on security, rehabilitation and the overall development of the lakes Nyos and Monoun areas. "We do infrastructure and human capacity buildings. We have been working since April 2011 and we can say that about 45 per cent of the work we intended to do has been done. A lot of equipment came from Japan which we have set up in a laboratory in Nkolbisson; a lot of equipment are also on the field. We intend to set up a modern, water analysis laboratory in Nkolbisson, we have a generator with a relay time of five seconds in the Nkolbisson laboratory, we have a borehole that supplies quality water, we have an up-to-date internet system through which we can easily repair our equipment," Dr Tanyileke said. Focus, he said, will hence be to step up capacity building as researchers are scheduled to undertake field visits to Japan and most especially, the putting in place of a mapping and plumbing system for lakes Nyos and Monoun as well as seek to exactly quantify water resources of the lakes.

The Secretary General said government attaches a lot of importance to mitigating the effects of natural disasters on one hand and pre-empting others from happening on the other, reason why she qualified the Cameroon-Japan project as a jewel to government which must be effectively executed.

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