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Minggu, 23 Mei 2021

Lava flow from Mt Nyiragongo volcanic eruption carves path of destruction in Democratic Republic of Congo - ABC News

A volcanic eruption in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has blazed a scar hundreds of metres wide that buried houses and left residents searching for missing loved ones, before halting just short of the city of Goma.

Goma was thrown into panic on Saturday evening local time as Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world's most active and dangerous volcanoes, erupted, turning the night sky an eerie red and sending a wall of orange lava downhill towards the lakeside city of about 2 million people.

Fifteen were killed, including nine in a traffic accident as residents fled, four who tried to escape Munzenze prison in Goma and two who were burned to death, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said in a statement.

Haunted by memories of an eruption in 2002 that killed 250 people and left 120,000 homeless, residents fled on foot with their belongings, some towards the nearby border with Rwanda.

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Volcano lava swallows homes near Goma, Congo.

The International Federation of Red Cross said that between 3,000 and 5,000 people fled into Rwanda, many of them peasants and farmers with livestock.

Some began returning on Sunday.

The eruption was caused when fractures opened in the volcano's side, causing lava flows in various directions.

People sift through lava wreckage in Congo
International aid groups believe thousands of people fled into neighbouring Rwanda to escape the eruption.(

AP: Clarice Butsapu

)

As the sun rose on Sunday, a smouldering black gash several hundred metres wide could be seen on the outskirts of Goma, where the lava had cooled to rubble.

At some points it was three storeys high, engulfing even large buildings and sending smoke into the grey morning sky.

Residents in the Buhene district sorted through the mangled white remains of tin roofs or lifted rocks. Elsewhere, groups of people posed for photos on the steaming lava.

In all, 17 villages were hit, Mr Muyaya said, and three health centres, a primary school and a water pipeline were destroyed.

People walk over lava rocks in Congo
People posed for photos among the smouldering wreckage.(

AP: Justin Kabumba

)

Lava crossed a main road running north from Goma, severing a key aid and supply route, and the city's principal supply of electricity, delivered along a line run by the Congolese Water and Electricity Distribution Company, was cut.

The flow towards Goma stopped a few hundred metres from the city limits. The nearby airport was untouched. A separate lava flow that headed east over unpopulated terrain towards Rwanda also appeared to have stopped.

Still, authorities warned that the danger was not over and that seismic activity in the area could cause further lava flows.

A government delegation has been dispatched to Goma to help in the response, he said.

Smoke and flames rise from the volcano as the sky truns red over the city.
The eruption on Mount Nyiragongo caused the sky to turn red.(

Reuters: Olivia Acland

)

Before the eruption, experts were worried that the volcanic activity observed in the past five years at Nyiragongo mirrored that in the years preceding eruptions in 1977 and 2002.

Volcanologists at the OVG, which monitors Nyiragongo, have struggled to make basic checks on a regular basis since the World Bank cut funding amid embezzlement allegations.

From October 2020 to April, the observatory could not carry out comprehensive seismic checks on the volcano because analysts lacked an internet connection, OVG's scientific director Celestin Kasereka Mahinda told local Radio Okapi.

Reuters

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2021-05-23 21:39:28Z
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