Mount Nyiragongo near the Congolese city of Goma has erupted, sending flames into the sky and spreading a strong smell of sulfur in the vicinity. The government has activated an evacuation plan for the city.
The volcano began erupting around 7:00 pm local time on Saturday. Footage shared online shows Nyiragongo spitting smoke and fire into the air, turning the night skies red.
#RDC: Les images qui nous viennent de #Goma. Pour le moment, aucune précision du côté des autorités…d'autres sources évoquent une forte intensité du volcan à partir de Nyiragongo pic.twitter.com/2kvcVkICTI
— Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala (@StanysBujakera) May 22, 2021
— The New Times (Rwanda) (@NewTimesRwanda) May 22, 2021
— Kent-P (@KentP257) May 22, 2021
🚨🚨Activité volcanique aux alentours de Goma: la MONUSCO fait des vols de reconnaissance.
La lave ne semble pas se diriger vers la ville de Goma. Nous restons en alerte. pic.twitter.com/JQmz7v16Ne
— MONUSCO (@MONUSCO) May 22, 2021
The Mount is located some 10 km (6 miles) north of Goma, a city of some 670,000 people, which in turn is only 1 km (0.6 mi) away from the Rwandan border.
The eruption has caused massive panic among the residents, who rushed to flee to safety to neighbouring Rwanda, many of them on foot. Videos and photos show residents, including small kids, march purportedly towards the border together with their belongings.
#DRC Eastern Congo – thousands of people fleeing the city of Goma heading across the border into #Rwanda – Mt Nyiragongo volcano erupted earlier this evening threatening Goma a city of over half a million people – in 2002 the volcano destroyed almost half of the city pic.twitter.com/lO4Rk8W4Tl
— Evelyn Tremble (@DrumChronicles) May 22, 2021
— United Rwa (@United_rwa) May 22, 2021
There have been reports of lava rapidly moving toward the city, and that lava flows were about to reach the Goma International Airport.
— Neurone Intelligence (@NeuroneIntel) May 22, 2021
The Democratic Republic of Congo government announced evacuation for the city. Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya tweeted that the government was “discussing the urgent measures” to deal with the situation. As the residents scrambled to evacuate, power outrages were reported across Goma.
The last eruption of the volcano, which is one of the world’s most active, claimed some 250 lives in 2002, leaving tens of thousands people homeless.
Nyiragongo’s most deadliest eruption took place in 1977. At the time, flows of lava swept through the city, ravaging it at speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour (37mph). The exact death toll from that eruption is unknown. AFP reported that more than 600 peopled were killed at the time.
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