May 23, 2021 - World

DRC's Nyiragongo volcano eruption forces thousands to evacuate Goma

 Mount Nyiragongo bursting into activity on May 22.
Mount Nyiragongo bursting into activity on Saturday. Photo: Justin Kitumwa /AFP via Getty Images

Mount Nyiragongo in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo erupted on Saturday, forcing thousands of people to evacuate the nearby city of Goma, per Reuters.

The state of play: Witnesses told AP that lava had "engulfed" a highway connecting Goma with the city of Beni and Reuters reports that lava has reached an area near Goma's airport, on the outskirts of the city, which has a population of about 2 million.

Goma residents leave the city following the volcanic activity on May 22.
Goma residents leave the city following the volcanic activity on May 22. Photo: Guerchom Ndebo/AFP via Getty Images
  • But the United Nations peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, which tweeted images from a reconnaissance flight over Goma, said late Saturday: "The lava does not appear to be heading towards the city ... We remain on alert."
  • DRC government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya tweeted Saturday night, "The evacuation plan for the city of Goma has been activated. The government is discussing urgent measures to take now."

Context: Lava from the volcano's last major eruption in 2002 flowed into the city, killing 250 and leaving tens of thousands more homeless, according to CNN.

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