DR Congo : residents flee as volcano erupts

2021-05-23 18:22:58
DR Congo : residents flee as volcano erupts

The military in Congo says a major city threatened by a massive volcanic eruption has been spared. They say molten lava that was streaming toward Goma came to a stop just a few hundred meters from the city limits.

Authorities had urged Goma's two million residents to evacuate after Mount Nyiragongo erupted for the first time in almost two decades.

Volcanologists at the OVG, which monitors Nyiragongo, have struggled to make basic checks on a regular basis since the World Bank cut funding amid embezzlement allegations, though experts said that the timing of this eruption was impossible to predict.

“We’ve been extremely lucky that it was very brief,” said Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist based in Goma. “From the little information we have, it was just the lava within the crater that came out, there was no additional lava from below.”

The flowing lava made this road impassible: When Mount Nyiragongo erupted Saturday evening, people quickly packed some belongings and fled.

There were widespread power outages in the nearby city of Goma. Residents were unsure of where to find a safe haven.

Mount Nyiragongo is in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, close to the border with Rwanda. It's considered one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes. Its last eruption in 2002 killed 250 people.

As lava approached Goma's airport on the eastern edge of the city, officials urged residents to evacuate. New fractures opening in the volcano allowed lava to flow south toward the city center.

A separate lava flow that headed east over unpopulated terrain towards Rwanda also appeared to have stopped, the reporter said.



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