Published on : Modified :
The famous Nyiragongo volcano, near the city of Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), erupted on Saturday evening, local authorities said.
The Nyiragongo volcano, overlooking the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) erupted on the evening of Saturday May 22, local authorities announced.
Since the beginning of the evening, strong emanations of glowing light coming out of the crater were visible and a smell of sulfur perceptible in Goma, located on the southern flank of the volcano, on the shores of Lake Kivu, according to an AFP correspondent.
No lava flow was visible from the city, nor an earthquake felt. This did not prevent panic attacks in Goma itself, with residents rushing home and watching with concern at the crater in the distance into the night and its red gleams.
In an audio recording transmitted to AFP, the military governor of the province of North Kivu “confirmed the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano since May 22 at around 7 pm” local. “The investigations are underway and the population must follow the guidelines of the civil protection”, declared General Constant Ndima, calling for “calm”.
“We will give further explanations to the population to channel it towards the directions where it will be safe,” added the governor, who has been in charge of the management of the province since the establishment of the state of siege in the region on May 6 to fight against armed groups.
“The city of Goma and its surroundings are safe”
In the evening, strong emanations of glowing light coming out of the crater were visible from Goma, while a smell of sulfur was perceptible in the city, located on the southern flank of the volcano, on the shores of Lake Kivu, noted a journalist. from AFP.
According to an internal document from the UN mission in the DRC (Monusco), of which AFP had a copy, a UN helicopter “conducted a reconnaissance flight over the area and confirmed eruption activities on the Nyiragongo “.
“However, the lava flow is heading towards Rwanda. The city of Goma and its surroundings are safe,” said this assessment.
Goma is home to a large contingent of peacekeepers and many members of MONUSCO staff. It is also the base of many NGOs and other international organizations.
First panic movements
“The sky has turned red. There is a smell of sulfur. In the distance we can see giant flames coming out of the mountain. But there is no earthquake. Then the sirens have not howled until then. A resident of Goma, Carine Mbala, told AFP on the phone.
Electricity was cut off in the city, where the first panic movements could be observed, dozens of people, often families, walking, on motorbikes or by car towards the nearby Rwandan border.
The latest eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, one of Africa’s most active volcanoes, dated back to 2002. It had left 250 dead and 120,000 homeless in Goma. Its lava flows are among the fastest in the world, said Dario Tedesco.
Vulcanologists have observed for five years the same activity of the volcano as during the periods preceding its eruptions of 1977 and 2002.