Panic in Goma as Nyamulagira volcano threatens to erupt

Nyiragongo volcano

Goma residents are seen leaving after an evacuation order was given on May 27, 2021, of the risk of eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano.

Photo credit: Guerchom Ndebo | AFP

One of the volcanoes in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been active for 10 days now, sparking fears of an eruption.

According to the Goma Volcanological Observatory, "a lava flow [was] observed inside the central crater of the Nyamulagira volcano" on Friday.

This lava activity in the volcano's crater caused "a big glow over the Nyamulagira volcano," said Muhindo Adelbert, the observatory’s director-general.

Mr Adelbert said that "if the current activity of Nyamulagira leads to an eruption on the flank, the lava would flow into Virunga National Park".

However, he called on "the population to remain calm and to go about their business freely".

The observatory recommended that the population of Goma, a city of nearly two million inhabitants, located on the border with Rwanda, "scrupulously" respect the instructions for washing vegetables, as volcanic ash and slag can fall back into inhabited areas.

In 2021, the eruption of the Nyiragongo Volcano, the other volcano in North Kivu, was followed by an earthquake that shook Goma, its surroundings and even the Rwandan town of Rubavu.

This eruption caused more than 30 deaths and destroyed several hundred houses in Goma.