Situated at the northern flank of the Oku Massif, Lake Nyos crater epitomizes landscape features originating from volcanic explosions during the Quaternary. The Cameroon Volcanic Line (CVL), to which it belongs, constitutes the most active volcanic region in Cameroon. In 1986, an outgas explosion occurred from beneath the lake and killed 1746 people in several neighbouring villages. The event influenced a radial area of 25 to 40 km wide, particularly in eastern and western direction. This was mainly due to: (1) the rugged nature of the landscape (fault fields), which enabled the heavier gas to follow valleys framed by faults corridors without affecting elevated areas; and (2) the seasonal dominating western wind direction, which channeled the gas along tectonic corridors and valleys. This paper assesses the geological risk and vulnerability in the Lake Nyos before and after several proposal to mitigate future outgas events. Remotely sensed data, together with GIS tools (topographic maps, aerial photographs), helped to determine and assess lineaments and associated risks. A critical grid combining severity and frequency analysis was used to assess the vulnerability of the local population. There is evidence that along the main fault directions (SW–NE), anthropogenic activities are most intensive and they may play an aggravating role for disasters. This requires the local population’s consciousness-raising. The results also show that population around Lake Nyos still remains vulnerable to volcanic hazards and floods. However, the area has been safe since the last degassing and jet grouting through multiple procedures and actions proposed in the National Contingency Plan, and equally by the relief organization plan (DROP or ORSEC plan) for the Menchum Division. Another issue is that the local population is concerned with the idea of returning to the affected areas in order to stay close to their ancestors or the deceased. Therefore, even after jet grouting and degassing, the problem of risk minimization for local residents remains.
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