• The Nyiragongo Volcano erupted on Saturday, May 22, leading to the mass evacuation and displacement of more than 8,000 people.
• The volcano has caused earthquakes; continuing aftershocks are stoking fears of a second eruption.
• The airport in Goma is closed until further notice.
Residents of the DR Congo city of Goma were told to evacuate Thursday as officials warned that the nearby Mount Nyiragongo volcano might erupt for a second time at any moment. Constant Ndima Kongba, the military governor of the North Kivu province, said magma was detected underneath the city and adjoining Lake Kivu, citing seismic and ground deformation data.
At least 31 people have died and 30,000 were force to home – about 12 km north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu – first erupted over the weekend.
An #eruption of #Nyiragongo #volcano (#DRC) began in the evening of May 22. #Meteosat satellite data (from @CIRA_CSU) show a strong thermal anomaly appearing at 17:15 UTC, and a small #volcanic plume amidst widespread regional convection. Follow @CharlesBalagizi for updates. pic.twitter.com/0Moo5WTz9L— Simon Carn (@simoncarn) May 22, 2021
The molten rock that erupts from volcanoes normally stays below the earth’s crust. The volcano is about 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) north of Goma, home to more than 600,000 people.
A total of nearly 2 million people live in Goma’s greater urban area. The strato-volcano, which is nearly 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) high, erupted over the weekend, killing at least 31 people and leaving 20,000 homeless. Another 40 people are still missing from Saturday.
Hundreds of aftershocks followed, destroying more buildings in the process. Mount Nyiragongo is Africa’s most active volcano. Before last Saturday, Nyiragongo last erupted in January 2002, killing more than 100 people and covering almost all of eastern Goma with lava, including half of the airport’s landing strip. More than 100,000 were left homeless in the aftermath.
According to latest findings of researchers, the recent eruption indeed drained the lava lake, but according to some sources, it has already partially refilled (or did not drain entirely).
Ash plumes are rising from the crater of the volcano, likely from internal collapses after the (partial?) drainage of the lava lake. Combined with the intense degassing activity, they create dangerously contaminated acid rain and people are urged not to use rain water for cooking, washing etc if any possible.