Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo erupts, causing panic Environment News


Power outage in the city of Goma, as some residents leave their homes and head to the nearby border with Rwanda.

Mount Nyiragongo, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, has erupted sending panic residents of the nearby city of Goma, although a volcanologist said the city did not appear to be danger.

People grabbed mattresses and other objects and fled to the border with neighboring Rwanda as a red glow filled the sky over the city. There was a lot of electricity all over the city and the telephone lines were busy, journalists from the Reuters news agency reported.

The military governor of North Kivu province, of which Goma is the capital, “confirmed the eruption of Nyiragongo volcano … around 7 p.m. [17:00 GMT]”.

“I urge the population to remain calm and follow the instructions of the provincial civil protection coordinator and the instructions of the police and armed forces,” General Constant Ndima said.

Residents caught a strong smell of sulfur on the streets of the eastern city, located on the southern flank of the mountain and on the northern shore of Lake Kivu.

Dario Tedesco, a nearly two-million-year-old volcanologist in the lake city, told Reuters that Goma did not appear to be at risk and lava appeared to be flowing eastward, towards the Rwandan border. He had said before that he thought the lava could hit Goma, but later he said it wasn’t.

“I can see sources of high lava,” Tedesco told Reuters.

INSO, which coordinates the safety of non-governmental organizations, said in a note that the lava had cut off a main road going north of Goma.

Translation: “The government says it is closely monitoring the situation in Goma, in particular the activity of the Nyiragongo volcano. According to Patrick Muyaya [a Congolese politician]”Currently, local authorities are assessing the situation with the Goma Volcanological Observatory, a detailed communication will be followed,” journalist Stanis Bujakera wrote on Twitter.

Nyiragongo last exploded in 2002, killing 250 people and leaving 120,000 homeless after lava flowed into Goma.

Volcano observers have been concerned that the volcanic activity observed over the past five years in Nyiragongo reflects that of the years before the 1977 and 2002 eruptions.

Volcanologists at the Gir Volcano Observatory (OVG), which controls Nyiragongo, have struggled to make basic checks since the World Bank cut funding amid allegations of embezzlement.

In a May 10 bulletin, the observatory said seismic activity in Nyiragongo had increased earlier this month.

The lava lake of Mount Nyiragongo, an active volcano in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, shows vapors and eruptions of molten rock. [File: AFP]

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