Introduction Living in the east Congolese city of Goma is risky. The eruption of the volcano Nyamulagira, located about thirty kilometres west of Goma, in January 2010, reminded the global public that the region around Lake Kivu has not only been suffering from prolonged civil war for nearly two decades, but is also exposed to a multitude of natural hazards. The second active volcano in the province of North Kivu is Nyiragongo, situated eighteen kilometres north of Goma. The eruption of Nyiragongo in January 2002 destroyed large parts of the urban infrastructure, forced 400,000 people to À ee and left 120,000 homeless. While there are many cities in the world that face the threat of volcanic eruptions, it would be hard to ¿ nd another city that is simultaneously threatened by carbon dioxide emissions from volcanic ¿ ssures onshore, and huge quantities of explosive gases dissolved in the lake water, as well as normalisation of violent crime in the course of persisting armed conÀ ict, and a deterioration of state institutions incapable of providing the population with security. However, this depressing outline of the city’s multi-hazard environment should not obscure the fact that Goma also offers opportunities.