DRC Officials Order Evacuation of Goma, Fearing Another Volcano Eruption

Officials in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Thursday ordered the partial evacuation of the city of Goma out of fears of another eruption of the nearby Mount Nyriagongo volcano.

North Kivu province Military Governor Constant Ndima Kongba announced the mandatory evacuation of 10 neighborhoods in the city after seismic and ground deformation data indicated the presence of magma under Goma, extending under adjacent Lake Kivu.

The governor said there were extra risks associated with the interaction between magma and the lake, including “the emission of potentially dangerous gases at the surface.” Ndima said transportation would be provided toward Sake, about 21 kilometers northwest of Goma.

The governor said he asked people to take very few belongings with them and said they could not return home. Thousands of people left the city shortly after the announcement, with many fleeing southeast, across the border and into neighboring Rwanda.

Goma, a city of 2 million people, had been spared when the volcano, 13 kilometers to the north, erupted late Saturday. United Nations officials say the eruption killed 32 people and lava destroyed at least two villages, displacing tens of thousands of people.

Before Saturday, Mount Nyiragongo—one of Africa’s most active volcanos—last erupted in 2002, killing hundreds of people in Goma and displacing more than 100,000.

Source: Voice of America

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