IIn the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nyiragongo volcano first erupted in nearly 20 years. Many residents of the nearby city of Goma fled in panic towards the border with Rwanda. The active volcano is located in Virunga National Park, about 20 kilometers north of the city of Goma, and thus near the border with Rwanda.
A government spokesman said late on Saturday night that the Goma evacuation plan would go into effect. Many people can be seen in the photos, who persevered on the city streets. There were reports on Twitter that the lava was not far from Jumas Airport, north of the city. A United Nations reconnaissance flight showed the extent of the volcano’s activity.
Earlier, another government spokesman for the African country called on residents to calm and said that local authorities would discuss the situation with volcanologists in Goma. Accordingly, the volcano erupted at around 7 pm local time. Pictures from Congolese news websites showed a blazing red sky at night.
Juma Observatory director Celestine Mahinda told state radio station RTNC that lava flows mainly flowed through parts of the national park. The park is Africa’s most biodiverse reserve and home to the endangered mountain gorillas.
According to Mahinda, part of the lava flow is also moving towards Juma. Residents began to flee their homes in a state of panic even before the eviction was reported, a local correspondent of the German News Agency (dpa) reported. About two million people live in the city.
Nyiragongo is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It last erupted in 2002. At that time, pyroclastic flows had reached Goma. 250 people died and around 120,000 people were displaced.