The situation is getting worse. The administration of the Virunga National Park, where the volcano is located, informed its employees in a letter seen by Agence France-Presse.
The lava flow has reached the city’s airport and is expected to reach the shores of Lake Kivu. There were no reports of deaths or injuries so far, but glowing lava also poured into residential areas and devoured many homes.
Communications Minister Patrick Moya tweeted late on Saturday that the city’s evacuation plan had been put into effect.
– He added that the government is studying the immediate measures that should be implemented.
Escape before the evacuation order arrives
Even before the official eviction order was issued, people fled their homes in the city of nearly 2 million people. Thousands of people poured into the streets with what they could carry
The eruption began at 7 pm local time. On Saturday, local authorities asked citizens to follow up on civil defense messages. Shortly after the volcano erupted, electricity was cut off in large parts of the city.
– The dark evening sky shines with hot red skin, says an AFP correspondent in Goma.
There is a strong sulfur haze over the city, and volcanologist Dario Tedesco told Reuters he saw large amounts of lava flowing from the volcano.
Similar to the outbreak in 2002
The last time Nyiragongo erupted was in January 2002, when hundreds of people died when lava and ash covered large parts of eastern Goma, and hundreds of thousands of people fled the city.
The eruption of the volcano is similar to what it was in 2002, according to the National Park authorities, and demanded that residents near the airport vacate the place immediately.
The deadliest outbreak occurred in 1977, when more than 600 people were killed.
The Goma region, located in North Kivu province bordering Rwanda and Uganda, has six volcanoes over 3000 meters high.
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