Congo volcano erupts for first time in years, sending people fleeing from major city

Congo volcano erupts for first time in years, sending people fleeing from major city

Congo volcano erupts for first time in years, sending people fleeing from major city

Written by Staff Writer

23 May, 2021 | 10:00 am

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have urged residents of the eastern city of Goma to evacuate after a volcano overlooking the area erupted.

Lava from Mount Nyiragongo approached Goma’s airport late on Saturday, as thousands of residents carrying mattresses and other belongings fled the border city on foot – many towards the frontier with Rwanda.

Nyiragongo’s last eruption in 2002 killed 250 people and left 120,000 homeless.

It is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and is considered among the most dangerous.

“The evacuation plan for the city of Goma has been activated,” Communications Minister Patrick Muyaya tweeted late on Saturday. “The government is discussing the urgent measures to take at present.”

The plan was activated after an emergency meeting in Kinshasha, he added.

President Felix Tshisekedi will cut short a trip to Europe to return to Congo on Sunday, the presidency said on Twitter.

The military governor of North Kivu province, of which Goma is the capital, “confirmed the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano … at around 7:00pm (17:00 GMT)”.

General Constant Ndima urged residents of Goma, a city of two million people that sits on Mount Nyiragongo’s southern flank and the north shore of Lake Kivu, to remain calm.

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