Mt Nyiragongo Erupts for the first time since 2002

Mt Nyiragongo Erupts for the first time since 2002 : Mt. Nyiragongo one of the remaining active volcanoes in Africa and the world has erupted for the first time since 2002. The mountain started erupting in the evening 6:00 pm – Central African Time sending the surrounding communities in a panic as lava from the mountain moved down the mountain.

Eye witnesses say that though the eruption seemed quite sudden they really did see some signs of eruptions on Saturday morning. The residents of Goma on Mt Nyiragongo’s southern flank and northern shore of Lake Kivu reported a strong smell of sulphur on the streets of the eastern town and a red glow filling up the sky above the city hours before the eruption.

Later when the mountain erupted lava smokes went up the whole surrounding making the skies red and the Lava flow as per the time of writing this article was still flowing rapidly and was steadily approaching the Goma airport.

Volcanologists in the area report that the lava at the start was flowing towards the direction Rwanda (a neighbouring country to DRC) but in the night the lava changed course as new fractures opened in the volcano causing the lava to flow south towards Goma. With this the Volcanologists are worried that the lava’s target may be Goma, hence the need to evacuate people as soon as possible. It’s not known when the lava flow will stop so it’s wise the people are evacuated for their safety.

People from the surrounding communities were seen fleeing the area with most of them carrying their belongings as they sort refugee in the neighbouring villages. The mountain Lava at the time was reaching most of the Goma suburbs, which makes Goma unsafe for anyone at this time.

Mt Nyiragongo is among the world’s most active and dangerous volcanoes, known to cause extreme damage when it erupts. The damage is usually life loss, property damage, people displacement, communities’ destruction and many more. In 2002 when the mountain last erupted, it killed 250 people and left 120,000 persons homeless.

As the eruption started last evening, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo activated the Goma city evacuation plan that is meant to quickly and safely move locals from Goma and settle them in other areas that are safe. As the people are evacuated the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to discuss and implement safety and migration measures in this crisis.

Mt Nyiragongo Erupts for the first time since 2002
Mt Nyiragongo Erupts for the first time since 2002

Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano standing at 11,385-foot-high. The mountain is one of many virunga massifs that are in the region in DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. The mountain located north of Goma town and Lake Kivu in Virunga National Park. The mountain’s crater has two lava benches that release lava when the mountain erupts. The mountain’s lava lake is recorded as one of the most voluminous lava lake in history.

Mountain Nyiragongo has been having eruptions since 1882 though it’s not recorded when the mountain’s first eruption happened. However since 1882 the mountain has erupted at least 35 times now and this includes periods when the eruptions have been continuous for a prolonged period like months or years where the lava churns in the mountain’s lava lake in the crater.

The mountain’s lava lake though has always been there it was only scientifically confirmed in the 1940s. The lava lake levels were believed to have lowered after the 2002 eruptions but as of 2011 the records showed the levels were slowly increasing and hence that explains yesterday’s eruptions.

A lot is still unclear about this eruption but we are following the story closely and we shall keep you updated.

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