Sunday, 24 October, 2021

Lava destroys homes in DR Congo after volcanic eruption

DR Congo volcano: Goma residents evacuate as Mount Nyiragongo erupts Thousands flee homes as volcano erupts in DR Congo
Cary Erickson | 25 May, 2021, 16:29

On Sunday, residents ventured out to assess the damage after a night of panic.

A river of boiling lava came to a halt on the outskirts of Goma Sunday, sparing the city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo from disaster after the nighttime eruption of Mount Nyiragongo sent thousands of terrified residents fleeing in panic. At some points it was three storeys high, engulfing even large buildings and sending smoke into the grey morning sky. Elsewhere, groups of people posed for photos on the steaming lava.

This general view taken on 22 May 2021 from Tchegera Island outside Goma on the lake Kivu in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo shows flame spewing from the Nyiragongo volcano.

"We hope that in time this will end".

Authorities said at least five people had died in a road crash while trying to leave Goma, but cautioned it was too early to give a death toll in the hardest hit communities.

The last time Nyiragongo erupted was 17 January, 2002, killing more than a hundred people and covering nearly all of the eastern part of Goma with lava, including half of the airport's landing strip. It is one of the world's most active volcanoes and is considered among the most risky.

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Context: Lava from the volcano's last major eruption in 2002 flowed into the city, killing 250 and leaving tens of thousands more homeless, according to CNN. Saturday's eruption appears to have been caused when fractures opened in the volcano's side, causing lava flows in various directions. The nearby airport was spared as well.

Electricity was cut off in a large part of the city, with thousands of people - encumbered with mattresses, food and parcels - heading towards the Rwandan border.

General Ndima said around 7,000 people had fled to neighbouring Rwanda, but had begun to return early on Sunday.

Smouldering lava deposited by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano is seen near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"At the moment, the Congolese who had evacuated into Rwanda because of the Nyiragongo volcanic eruption are returning to their homeland".

"We've been extremely lucky that it was very brief", Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist based in Goma, told Reuters.