Disasters & Accidents

Lava flow from Nyiragongo volcano slows after night of chaos in Goma

(Update 2: adds the latest information of people returning)

Kinshasa, May 23 (EFE).- The lava flow from the Nyiragongo volcano pared the city of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic, allowing residents who fled under a glowing red sky overnight to slowly return.

Molten lava was reported to have reached Goma’s airport and the outskirts of the city of around 2 million people, located about 20 kilometers from Nyiragongo in the Virunga National Park.

“The local authorities who followed the evolution of the eruption throughout the night report that the lava flow has lost intensity and some earthquakes. The assessment of the humanitarian situation is ongoing,” government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya tweeted just after 8 am local time (06:00 GMT) on Sunday morning.

The eruption of the volcano began close to 7 pm on Saturday, volcanologist Celestin Kasereka Mahinda of the Goma Volcano Observatory told EFE.

In the dark, residents began to flee, carrying their belongings through the streets of Goma, which sits on the shore of Lake Kivu on the Rwandan border.

Muyaya tweeted at around 10.40 pm Saturday, that “the evacuation plan for the city of Goma has been activated.”

Rwanda’s ministry in charge of emergency management said its border district of Rubavu had received 8,000 Congolese seeking refuge. Other Goma residents fled west to the town of Sake.

There were no reports of deaths or injuries caused by the lava flow, but five people were killed in a car accident as they fled the city, a local official said.

Charles Balagizi, a researcher at Goma Volcano Observatory, tweeted that lava flow had reached “Buhene-Kihisi area” on the outskirts of the city.

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