Published: Tue, May 25, 2021

DR Congo plans to evacuate city as volcano erupts

DR Congo plans to evacuate city as volcano erupts

The last time a major Nyiragongo eruption occurred was in 2002, when around 250 people were killed and 120,000 were left without homes, as lava flows destroyed about 20 percent of Goma. I think that the lava is going towards the city center.

Fire and strong fumes emanated from the blackish molten rock as it swallowed up houses, heading towards Goma airport on the shores of Lake Kivu.

The Congolese government ordered residents of Goma to evacuate as fiery lava engulfed hundreds of homes and other buildings along the city's outskirts.

A Reuters reporter saw two people killed by the initial eruption in a village north of Goma, and witnesses spoke of dead and missing relatives.

Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya warned on Sunday that the prices of food and other essentials are set to rise in Goma as the eruption has cut off several hundred metres of the road to Butembo, the region's main trade route.

"People are wondering whether the volcano has stopped, or whether it will continue, whether the lava will reappear", one resident said.

A local trader, Kambere Ombeni, was among those who returned to the scene as the rubble still smouldered. "We don't even have a pot".

"The situation seems to have calmed down for the moment", one resident said.

"There's land, people, a population that has lost everything, maybe there are also deaths, who knows?"


"I am asking for help because everything we had is gone", she said, clutching her baby.

"We arrived quickly, we didn't expect these kinds of things which just happened to us", Theophile Tulinabo, a resident who fled his home after the eruption, told CNN in Buhene, a neighbourhood north of Goma.

"The lava was pretty slow, like, 1km/h, but it didn't stop".

Volcano watchers have been anxious that the volcanic activity observed in the last five years mirrors that in the years preceding eruptions in 1977 and 2002. "It started burning the houses", he said, adding that humanitarian organisations were already trying to address people's needs.

Mount Nyiragongo, one of the most active and unsafe volcanoes in the world, last erupted in 2002, killing hundreds of people and leaving more than 100,000 homeless.

"There is a risk that the lava will flow on Goma", a Goma resident told the AFP news agency.

In a bulletin on May 10, the observatory said there had been increased seismic activity at Nyiragongo earlier in the month. But he also warned that an quake could trigger a disaster earlier.

Immigration officials in neighbouring Rwanda reported that some 3,000 people had crossed over from Congo to escape the volcano's eruption, according to the national broadcaster.

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