Thousands flee Goma amid warnings of fresh Mount Nyiragongo eruption

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Mount Nyiragongo in Goma, North Kivu in Congo

CONGO – The government has ordered the immediate evacuation of Goma by residents over risks for a second eruption from volcanic Mount Nyiragongo.

Tens of thousands of people flee the city in eastern Congo following the order after witnessing last weeks eruption which spewed lava near the city.

North Kivu province military Governor Lt. Gen. Constat Ndima Kongba, announced early Thursday that a new eruption could occur at any moment.


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He ordered the evacuation of 10 of the 18 neighborhoods in the city of more than 2 million people as volcanic activity was reported near Lake Kivu.

“Based on these scientific observations, we cannot currently rule out an eruption on land or under the lake. And this could happen with very little (or no) warning,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Constat Ndima Kongba

AP reported that an eruption under Lake Kivu could lead to an explosion of gas in the lake, which could in turn destroy parts of Goma and Gisenyi in neighboring Rwanda.

The government, in the directive, advised resident to carry very little and warned them not to return to their homes until advised by authorities.

Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanos, turned the dark sky fiery red Saturday night before it spewed torrents of lava into villages on the outskirts of Goma.

32 people were reported dead in the event that destroyed more than 500 homes.

At least died in the Mountain’s 2002 volcanic activity covering the eastern part of Goma and half of an airport with lava.

But the deadliest of the mountains erruption was in 1977 where over 600 people died.

What leads to volcanic activity?

Volcanic activity involves the emission of gases, non-explosive lava or extremely violent explosive bursts that may last many hours.

This usually occurs when there is a sudden or continuing release of energy caused by near-surface or surface magma movement.

The energy can be in the form of earthquakes, gas-emission at the surface, release of heat (geothermal activity), explosive release of gases (including steam with the interaction of magma and surface of ground water), and the non-explosive extrusion or intrusion of magma.


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