Thousands of houses and properties went up in flames following the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano eruption accompanied by a strong smell of sulphur in the streets of Goma, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) late on Saturday. There has been a black out in multiple locations throughout the city.
Crowds of people were seen grabbing their belongings and fleeing towards the nearby border with Rwanda.
Rwanda’s Ministry in charge of emergencies has confirmed it has received at least 3500 Congolese seeking refuge from the Nyiragongo volcanic eruption.
The Lava has reached the city’s airport and the Congolese government says it is evacuating Goma, a city of nearly 2 million people.
A fleeing resident said, “We cannot wait any longer, I am leaving with my family, the lava may reach here soon….”
Government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya said on Twitter that the government has activated its evacuation plans for the city.
250 people lost their lives in 2002 when the last eruption at Mount Nyiragongo happened, with at least one-fifth of the city destroyed.
North Kivu military governor Constant Ndima called on the resident to remain calm adding that investigations are underway and residents must follow the guidance of civil protection.
Some witnesses have confirmed that the emissions had engulfed the highway connecting Goma with the city of Beni in North Kivu province and had reached Goma’s airport.
The Goma region, in DRC’s North Kivu province, has six active volcanoes, all of them higher than 3,000 meters.
Researchers working at the Goma Volcano Observatory earlier this year reported that an eruption might be on the way. However, the observatory has been struggling to maintain its operations after the World Bank pulled funding over claims of misappropriation.
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