Congo Volcano Leaves Smouldering Wreckage

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GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: A smoking trail of lava from a volcanic eruption covered hundreds of houses in eastern Congo on Sunday (May 23), leaving residents to pick gingerly through the wreckage, though the flow halted just short of the major city of Goma.

Goma was thrown into panic on Saturday evening as Mount Nyiragongo 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.

Thousands fled on foot with their belongings, some towards the nearby border with Rwanda.

As the sun rose on Sunday, smouldering black ash could be seen on the outskirts of Goma, where the lava had cooled to rubble.

Residents pick up remains of their destroyed homes from the smouldering lava deposited by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo May 23, 2021. REUTERS/Olivia Acland

At some points it was up to 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 – tiny individual efforts in what will likely be a months’-long campaign to restore the zone. Elsewhere, groups of people posed for photos on the steaming lava.

It was not immediately clear if anyone had died, or how widespread the material damage was.

Nyiragongo’s previous eruption in 2002 killed 250 people and left 120,000 homeless.

It is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and is considered among the most dangerous.

Saturday’s eruption appears to have been caused when fractures opened in the volcano’s side, causing lava flows in various directions.

The flow towards Goma appeared to have stopped a few hundred meters from the city limits, one Reuters reporter said. The nearby airport was untouched.


Residents pick up remains of their destroyed homes from the smouldering lava deposited by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo May 23, 2021. REUTERS/Olivia Acland

Flowing lava from the volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, which occurred late on May 22, 2021, is seen in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
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