Lava reaches Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – International

A river of lava that descended from the slopes of Nyiragongo volcano, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, was frozen this Sunday only a few hundred meters from the outskirts of Goma, avoiding this city for now, where new eruptions are feared.

The volcano Nyiragongo, whose majestic dark slopes dominate Goma and the entire Lake Kivu, erupted on Saturday night, surprising everyone, including the authorities, and forced to issue the order to evacuate the city.

But this SundayThe lava stopped towards Bohini, on the outskirts of Goma (…) the city was savedThe military governor of the region, General Constant Ndema, announced “a provisional balance of five deaths” in accidents that occurred during the evacuation of residents.

The lava front is black and unstable, strong flames and fumes are emitted. In its creep, lava engulfed many homes, leaving twisted and charred iron.

The lava also stopped moving a few meters from Goma airport, as planes were evacuated at night, as all flights for the day were canceled, according to a source at the airport.

A local UN official, Diego Zorrilla, reported that four towns were “directly damaged” and “destroyed” by the lava river, and that the organization would support the government with humanitarian aid.

small earthquakes

Men crossing the front of still-smoking lava rocks from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo.

About 10 small earthquakes have been felt in Goma since dawn.

“There are still small earthquakes on the way out of the lava river towards Goma. You have to be very vigilant,” said Adalbert Mohendo, in charge of the Goma Volcano Observatory. “If these earthquakes cause a vent, this lava can advance again towards Goma“, Cautious.

Tens of thousands of people fled to a nearby border point with Rwanda, south of Goma, and southwest of the city, towards the Masisi region.

In Rwanda, thousands of people were received in a peaceful manner, with the guidance and organization of the authorities.

“Currently, the citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who took refuge in Rwanda after the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano continue to return to their country,” the Rwandan Broadcasting Agency (RBA) said on Sunday.

Tourists near the crater at the time of the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano “Salmon and Salmon”This Sunday, the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN), the body that oversees Virunga National Park, reported, where the volcano is located.

“Mountain gorillas are not threatened,” the agency added.

Virunga Park, Africa’s oldest nature reserve, opened in 1925, and is a haven for a few remaining mountain gorillas, also found in neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

great volcanic activity

The previous major eruption of Nyiragongo dates back to January 17, 2002 and killed more than 100 people.

Then lava covered the entire eastern part of Goma, including half of the airport runway.

This Sunday, the streets of Goma gradually returned to the usual animation. “People started to go home, and the situation calmed downAccording to one of the related residents.

But people are wondering if the volcano has stopped, or if the eruptions will continue.”

Goma, the regional capital of North Kivu, a conflict province bordering Uganda, home to several armed groups, has a population of nearly 600,000.

The city is home to a large group of blue helmets and many employees of Monusco, the United Nations mission in the country. It is also a base for many NGOs and international organizations.

In Rome, Pope Francis prayed “for the people of Goma, who were forced to flee by the eruption of the great volcano Nyiragongo,” during his Sunday message to Angelos.

The Goma region is an area of ​​intense volcanic activity, with six volcanoes, including Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira, very close to each other and having elevations of 3,470 and 3,058 meters respectively.

The deadliest eruption of Nyiragongo in 1977 caused the deaths of more than 600 people.

Justin Katimwa and Albert Cambale
France Press agency

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