Eastern DRC Volcano Erupts; Thousands Flee Goma

Brenda Watkins
May 25, 2021

Lava from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo is seen in Buhene, on the outskirts of Goma.

"In the event of an evacuation, customs between Goma and Gisenyi are closed overnight", he said.

Five people died in a auto accident when they tried to evacuate, Mr Peyre-Costa told CNN.

Elsewhere, authorities said at least five other people had died in a truck crash while they were trying to evacuate Goma, but the scale of the loss had yet to be determined in some of the hardest-hit communities.

Rwandan immigration authorities reported that some 3,000 people already had officially crossed over from Congo to escape the volcano's eruption, according to the national broadcaster.

It is considered extremely unsafe because lava flows can reach up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) an hour.

Mr Muyaya said another two people died yesterday, but did not elaborate on the circumstances.

"It is moving at a snail's pace, on three or four lanes", he said, adding: "There are children, women, old people who are on foot and the rain is coming". I think that the lava is going towards the city center. "The electricity has cut out", she said.

"The lava doesn't seem to be headed toward the city of Goma".

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Schools are still shut with pupils told to stay at home, although businesses and petrol stations were open again.

Volcano watchers have been anxious that volcanic activity observed in the last five years at Nyiragongo mirrors that in the years preceding eruptions in 1977 and 2002.

The volcano appeared calm on the horizon, with the usual smoke rising from its crater.

But the molten earth flow did cross a main road out of the city, cutting it off from the north and leaving many people stranded as they tried to return to their homes and assess the damage.

A government delegation including seven ministers arrived from Kinshasa early on Monday, while President Felix Tshisekedi has cut short a European tour to supervise the aid operation.

The New Times understands that officials in Rubavu District alongside a team from The Ministry of Emergency Management are now facilitating evacuees that have voluntarily expressed an interest in returning back to Ngoma, a major city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Crowds were seen with mattresses and other belongings, fleeing towards the border with Rwanda to the east, even before the government's announcement, which came several hours after the eruption started.

After taking part in a United Nations reconnaissance flight over Nyiragongo, volcanologist Kasereka Mahinda said it was uncertain why the aftershocks were continuing and whether the volcano' s burst of activity was finished.

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