Thousands destitute following volcanic eruption near Goma: DRC ambassador

Goma residents are seen leaving the city following a sudden activity of the Nyiragongo volcano

For the moment, there is no sign of a flow of lava from the city, the correspondent said.

New fractures were opening in the volcano, letting lava flow south toward the city after initially flowing east toward Rwanda, said Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist based in Goma.

Ndima said 7,000 people fled overnight to neighbouring Rwanda before returning.

'This morning we saw the whole district had gone up in smoke, the flames came right down here from Nyiragongo, ' said one resident.

Officials confirmed an eruption at Mount Nyiragongo.

"Only about 100 of them are still in Rwanda but they are people who have cars who spent the night in hotels", Kayisire added. But still, thousands evacuated - many across the border into Rwanda - remembering the widespread devastation that the last eruption in 2002 caused, when reports of the death toll ranged into the hundredsand tens of thousands of homes were lost.

The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo over the weekend sent about 5000 people fleeing from the city of Goma across the nearby border into Rwanda, while another 25,000 others sought refuge to the northwest in Sake, the United Nations children's agency said today. Constant Ndima, who was appointed governor early this month when the province was placed under a "state of siege" to combat violence by armed groups.

Eruptions are frequent, not just from the craters but from the sides of the volcanos.

Province reporting 1691 new COVID-19 cases, 326 in Mississauga and Brampton
Second dose vaccinations are now underway for anyone who is 85 and older or who received their first dose before February 15. There were 424 people in hospital, a drop of 13 in the previous day, while 103 people are in ICU, a drop of three.

Mr Peyre-Costa said a number of non-government organisations in the region believe Goma's population is closer to one million.

A government delegation including seven ministers arrived from Kinshasa early on Monday, while President Felix Tshisekedi has cut short a European tour to supervise the aid operation. There was no official word on how many may have been killed amid the scramble to flee the city late Saturday.

Power was already cut in large parts of the city when hundreds of residents began leaving their homes.

Other residents fled to higher grounds to the west of the city.

Resident Richard Bahati said he was incredibly anxious about the eruption: "I lived through this volcano problem in 2002. I think that the lava is going towards the city centre".

Several planes, belonging to Monusco and private companies, took off on Saturday evening, according to an airport source, with a local adding they had also seen the unusual nighttime activity.

Goma ultimately was largely spared the mass destruction it suffered the last time the volcano erupted back in 2002.

The Goma region is a zone of intense seismic activity, with six volcanos, including Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira, which rise to 3,470 and 3,058 meters (11,384 and 10,033 feet) respectively. Current assessments indicate eruption doesn't threaten the city itself.

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