Congo Volcano Eruption Threatens 2 Million People, Thousands Evacuate
A volcanic eruption by Mount Nyiragongo threatens millions of people in Congo, forcing thousands to flee a city.
The military governor of Congo’s North Kivu province, Lt. Gen Constat Ndima Kongba, ordered the evacuation of 10 of Goma’s 18 neighborhoods, a city of two million people.
Last week, Mount Nyiragongo erupted near Goma, but the city was unaffected. However, Kongba now claims that a new eruption could occur at any time, citing activity near the city and Lake Kivu as evidence.
“We cannot currently rule out an eruption on land or beneath the lake based on these scientific observations,” Kongba told the Associated Press. “This could occur with little (or no) notice. An eruption beneath Lake Kivu could also have negative consequences by causing a gas explosion in the lake, which could destroy parts of Rwanda’s Goma and Gisenyi.”
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Residents were advised to take only what they needed and not to return to their homes until authorities gave them permission. Vehicles will be provided to aid the evacuation, according to officials.
A large number of people were seen heading northwest toward Sake and east toward Rwanda. International organizations, such as the United Nations mission in Congo, began evacuating their staff on Wednesday.
Maguy Balume told The Associated Press over the phone that she and her two children have left their home and are on their way to Sake.
“I’m leaving my house with my two children and heading to Sake. My husband is on a mission in Kinshasa and I don’t know how I’m going to meet him,” she said. “I don’t think about my house because my family’s safety and health come first. I can build another house if I want to. I know that my God will save Goma.”
Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanos, turned the dark sky fiery red Saturday night and then spewed torrents of lava into villages on the outskirts of Goma destroying more than 500 homes and resulting in the deaths of more than 32 people.
Mount Nyiragongo’s last eruption was in 2002, leaving hundreds dead. The lava coated the airport runways and also left more than 100,000 homeless in the. This is a brief summary.