A volcano erupted near the town of Goma in Congo. The city center is at risk and an emergency plan is implemented. People are fleeing to the neighboring country of Rwanda.
The eruption of Mount Nyaragongo volcano in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo caused panic among the population. As part of the lava flow that rolled towards the city of Goma, thousands of people left their homes and fled towards the nearby border with Rwanda. A reporter from the German press agency reported that authorities in the neighboring country opened the border on Sunday night and let the people go.
The active volcano is located in Virunga National Park, about 20 kilometers north of the city of Goma and thus also near the border with Rwanda. The volcano erupted around 7 pm local time (CEST 8 pm) on Saturday evening. Lava flows are currently flowing mainly from parts of the national park, Goma Volcano Observatory Director Celestin Mahinda told state radio station RTNC. The park is Africa’s most biodiversity reserve and home to endangered mountain gorillas.
According to the Mahindas a part of the lava flow is also moving towards Goma. Among other things, there was a danger of lava flows reaching the international airport there.
Panic spread to about 2 million residents of Goma on Saturday evening. Thousands fled to the border in neighboring Rwanda, where they were initially intercepted. It was only later that the authorities of the neighboring country opened the border and allowed the refugees to leave. In Goma, riots erupted in the central prison during the night as prisoners were in danger of their lives after the volcanic eruption. A DPA reporter said that many shots could be heard from the building complex.
Mount Nyaragongo was last torn in 2002. At that time, lava destroyed a large part of Goma. About 250 people were killed in the outbreak, and 120,000 more people became homeless.