Power cut in the city of Goma, as some residents leave their homes and head for the neighboring border with Rwanda.
Mount Nyiragongo in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has erupted, scaring away panicked residents of the nearby town of Goma, though a volcanologist has said that the city did not seem to be in danger.
Electricity was cut in the town and some residents started to leave their homes, heading for the neighboring border with Rwanda on Saturday.
The military governor of the province of North Kivu, of which Goma is the capital, “confirmed the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano… around 7:00 pm. [17:00 GMT]”.
“Investigations are underway and people should follow the advice of civil protection units,” General Constant Ndima said, calling for “calm”.
Residents smelled a strong smell of sulfur in the streets of the eastern town, located on the southern side of the mountain and on the northern shore of Lake Kivu.
Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist in the lakeside town of nearly two million, told Reuters news agency Goma did not appear to be in danger and lava appeared to be flowing east – towards the Rwandan border. . Previously, he had said he thought lava might hit Goma, but later said it didn’t.
“I can see tall lava fountains,” Tedesco told Reuters.
#RDC: The Government says it is closely monitoring the situation in Goma, particularly the activity of the Nyirangongo volcano. According to Patrick Muyaya, “the local authorities are currently assessing the situation with the volcanological observatory in Goma, a detailed communication will follow.” pic.twitter.com/uCkuDAhL8h
– Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala (@StanysBujakera) May 22, 2021
Translation: “The government says it is closely monitoring the situation in Goma, in particular the activity of the Nyiragongo volcano. According to Patrick Muyaya [a Congolese politician], “the local authorities are currently evaluating the situation with the volcanological observatory of Goma, a detailed communication will follow”, wrote the journalist Stanis Bujakera on Twitter.
Nyiragongo last erupted in 2002, killing 250 people and leaving 120,000 homeless after lava poured into Goma.
Volcano watchers have expressed concern that the volcanic activity observed over the past five years at Nyiragongo mirrors that of the years preceding the 1977 and 2002 eruptions.
Volcanologists at the Goma Volcano Observatory (OVG), which monitors Nyiragongo, have struggled to carry out basic checks since the World Bank cut funding amid allegations of embezzlement.