Thousands was forced to flee across the Rwandan border after Mount Nyiragongo has erupted in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, spewing lava onto a major highway. The border was closed so they came back. People were spending the night outdoors. Fear exists but the lava doesn’t appear to be heading directly towards the major city of Goma. Instead it appears to be flowing towards the border with Rwanda. Authorities in the city activated an evacuation plan as a precaution.”There has not been a massive panic movement, but people are really worried,” said Tom Peyre-Costa, the council’s spokesman for west and central Africa. There was no immediate word on any casualties. Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said he would be returning home on Sunday from Europe earlier than planned in order to help coordinate relief efforts.
The last time Mount Nyiragongo erupted was in 2002, killing 250 people and leaving 120,000 homeless. Goma is on the edge of Lake Kivu. The current metro area population of Goma in 2021 is 670,000, according to a projection by the UN, World Bank and others. But the entire city has nearly 2 million. Volcanologist Honore Chiraba of the Goma Volcano Observatory told media there are two fractures in the volcano. “The lava is flowing but not very fast,” he said. The 11,500-foot-high volcano is one of several near the DRC’s border with Rwanda and Uganda. The volcano is also close the Virunga National Park, home to some of the last mountain gorillas in the world.