Thousands flee after second volcano warning in DR.Congo

Written by on May 27, 2021

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo over fears of another volcanic eruption.


Local authorities have said Mount Nyiragongo could erupt once again with little warning.


The volcano, 10km (six miles) from Goma, spewed lava over the weekend, killing 32 people and leaving thousands homeless, the UN says.


Thousands fled then but some residents had started returning.


The area has been rattled by more than 200 aftershocks which have destroyed several buildings, while two cracks several hundred metres in length have appeared in the ground.


Goma is a lakeside city where around 670,000 people live, according to UN estimates.

Tremors have also been felt more than 90km away in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Authorities have arranged for people to be transported to the city of Sake, around 20km west of Goma.

Others are leaving the city by ferry, others by car, creating traffic jams, and others on foot, carrying their possessions.


Local resident Alfred Bulangalire, 42, left the city with his wife and four children. “I know that my shop will be looted, but I have to protect myself and my family,” he told Reuters news agency.


Thousands entered Rwanda, staying in the border city of Gisenyi, reports the BBC’s Samba Cyuzuzo. Rwandan authorities are directing these people to a former refugee camp and a secondary school.


Many residents of Gisenyi itself have fled east, deeper into Rwanda, as earth tremors continue to shake the city. Rwandan authorities have reported earthquakes on Thursday reaching 4.9 magnitude.


Rivers of molten rock streamed from Mount Nyiragongo during its eruption on Saturday, setting houses and forest alight on the edges of Goma.

One stream of lava stopped close to Goma’s airport, the main hub for humanitarian aid operations in the east of the country.

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