Congo: Nyiragongo volcano erupts as thousands flee from Goma to Rwanda and Uganda

Lava from The eruption of Nyiragongo volcano approached the airport of the main city of Goma, In the east Democratic Republic of the Congo Saturday night, the government called on residents to evacuate, notes a telegram from Reuters.

When the red glow of Mount Nyiragongo blanketed the night sky over the lakeside city of nearly two million people, thousands of Goma residents with mattresses and other possessions fled the city on foot, many of them towards the Rwandan border.

The last eruption of Nyiragongo volcano in 2002 killed 250 people and displaced 120,000. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and considered one of the most dangerous.

With themThe ministry responsible for managing emergencies in Rwanda said more than 3,500 Congolese had crossed the border. Rwandan state media said they will be housed in schools and places of worship.

Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist in Goma, said new cracks are opening in the volcano, letting lava flow south into the city after it initially flowed east into Rwanda.

“Now Goma is the target,” Tedesco told Reuters. “It’s similar to 2002. I think the lava is funneling towards the city center.”

“It could stop early or continue. It’s hard to guess,” he said.

General view showing smoke and fire from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano near Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on May 22, 2021. Reuters / Olivia Eckland.

Emmanuel de Mirod, President Virunga National Park, It asked park employees in parts of Goma to evacuate, according to a note seen by Reuters. He said that the lava had reached the international airport at the eastern end of the city, but that it was unlikely to reach other parts of Goma.

A UN source said that UN planes were transported to the city of Bukavu in the south and Entebbe in neighboring Uganda. There was also electricity in many areas of Goma.

Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukondi called an emergency meeting in the capital, Kinshasa, as the government activated the Goma evacuation plan.

“We hope that the measures taken tonight will allow the residents to reach the points indicated in this plan,” government spokesman Patrick Moyaya said in remarks broadcast on national television.

The presidency said on Twitter that President Felix Tshisekedi will shorten his trip to Europe to return to Congo on Sunday.

On the streets of Goma, panic quickly reigned.

“We are in a panic because we just saw the whole city covered with light that is not electricity or lamps,” said John Kilosho. “We don’t know what to do. We don’t even know how to act. There is no information.”

Peacekeepers from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) stand guard as civilians watch smoke and fires collect their belongings after volcanic activities on Mount Nyiragongo near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on May 22, 2021. (Reuters) Olivia Oakland

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