Lake kivu

Lake kivu For Cars 4 hire Kigali Rwanda

Lake kivu For Cars 4 hire Kigali Rwanda is divided into two fingers that run along the Democratic Republic of Congo’s border with Rwanda. It is one of the African Great Lakes, a series of lakes in the eastern part of Africa’s Rift Valley, and is home to the world’s 10th-largest inland island. It is a beautiful place where the color of sea and sky are often so close that it is impossible to discern a horizon. And at any moment, it could explode.

A hut at Paradis Malahide on Lake Kivu will cost you $70 a night. It’s a small hotel on the Rwanda side of the lake, just outside of Gisenyi and a welcome respite for adventurers who have just come from hiking Volcanoes National Park, or for those looking for a few days of R&R before entering the DRC for a trek to visit the mountain gorillas. The latter is what drew my husband and me there, and we spent four days on the lake. Rwanda’s land is famously fertile, and the area around Lake Kivu is no exception; among the goods sold at a local Monday afternoon market were homegrown bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, chard, and small, silvery fish called sambaza that made deliciously salty snacks when fried. The sambaza were caught by the night fishermen who paddled out just before sunset every day, chanting and singing to keep their oars in sync until they found their spot and shone flashlights on the water to attract the bugs that attracted the fish. Women carried loads of laundry on their heads from the village down to one of several beaches to wash in the lake, and on the same beaches, teenagers bathed in raucous groups.

IN THE LAKESIDE TOWN OF NYOS, ONLY SIX PEOPLE SURVIVED THAT NIGHT. BECAUSE CO2 IS DENSER THAN AIR, IT HUGGED THE GROUND IN LOW-LYING CLOUDS AND KILLED THE VILLAGERS WHILE THEY SLEPT, LIKE A MALEVOLENT BLANKET.

That gas, when disturbed, can wreak fatal havoc. This is what happened at Monoun and Nyos in the mid-1980s—38 people died on the shores of Monoun, and 1,700 around Nyos. Lake (or limnic) overturn occurs when the gases at the bottom of a lake are disturbed and rise to the surface, creating a deadly fog that kills or knocks unconscious anything in its path. It’s a little like what happens when you open a bottle of fizzy water—the pressure of having the lid on keeps the gas in place. It’s only when you unscrew the lid that things get dangerous.

At Lake Nyos, Haraldur Sigurdsson, a scientist sent in by the United States government to make sure this mysterious phenomenon was not the result of biological warfare, said: “I realized that the only explanation that was viable was the carbon dioxide burst.” He and his team concluded that a landslide had likely triggered the limnic overturn: Rocks from nearby mountains crashed into the lake, penetrating its deepest layers and disturbing the delicate balance of gasses. The water foamed and spouted up out of the lake, effervescent and deadly; the resulting cloud of gas traveled fast enough that the villagers who died did so quickly and quietly. In the lakeside town of Nyos, only six people survived that night. Because HO2 is denser than air, it hugged the ground in low-lying clouds and killed the villagers while they slept, like a malevolent blanket. “The thing was white, white like cloth,” a resident said. “It didn’t go up in the air, it mostly went down near the ground.” The lake had exploded.

Death by carbon dioxide poisoning is a result of lack of oxygen in the blood. The body starts to shut down in stages; the victim grows disoriented and panicky and and may start to experience seizures. The victim’s organs start to shut down as oxygen becomes unavailable; at Lake Nyos, death would have come almost immediately. The dead and the living alike were found with burn-like lesions on their skin, and the six who survived reported symptoms from limb weakness to nausea to survivor’s guilt. The CO2 had induced comas in many survivors. The lesions mostly went away after a couple of weeks

Lake Nyos covers roughly 1.5 square kilometers; Lake Kivu, 2,700. Two million people live on its shores. The scale of disaster there would be exponential compared with what happened at Nyos—potentially greater, even, than the death toll of the Rwandan genocide, which is estimated to have taken between 800,000 and one million people.

Lake Kivu first came to global attention when it became a dumping ground for bodies during the genocide. Some of the dead had been slaughtered; others had died from cholera at overcrowded refugee camps where Hutus still terrorized Tutsis. The same lake that held the cholera bacterium became the indispensable source of drinking water a few weeks later when American troops arrived with a giant purifier. The First and Second Congo Wars in the late 1990s and early 2000s took millions of lives and were largely ignored by the international community; the wars also re-kindled several other smoldering conflicts in the area.

Lake Kivu has exploded many times before. Geologists estimate that it happens once every 1,000 years, give or take, and they cannot easily predict when the next explosion will happen. Many in the scientific community began keeping an especially close eye on the region when nearby Mt. Nyiragongo erupted in January 2002, sending lava into Lake Kivu from both above and below ground, where the eruption formed a tunnel carrying magma under the lake. The border town of Goma in the DRC was nearly buried, and now much of Goma sits 12 feet above its 2002 level, buried in gray volcanic rock. Dozens of people died and hundreds of thousands fled for more stable land, which is hard to come by in eastern DRC, where rebel groups roam the region and the chaotic spillover from the 1994 genocide has resulted in two wars and hundreds of thousands of deaths.