Families displaced by DRC volcano
Nyiragongo (also spelled Nyiragongo), one of the world’s most beautiful and active volcanoes, is a large stratovolcano near Lake Kivu at the eastern border of DRCongo with Rwanda in the Virunga National Park.
It has a 1.2 km diameter summit caldera containing the world’s most active and largest lava lake.
Nyiragongo is infamous for its extremely fluid lava that runs as water when the lava lake drains. On January 17, 2002, Nyiragongo erupted and the lava lake drained from fissures on its western flanks. The city center of the Goma town, the capital of the East Virunga province, had been destroyed by voluminous lava flows. 200,000 people were left homeless, adding to the human disaster caused by frequent civil wars.
A further 92 earthquakes and tremors have been recorded in the past 24 hours around the Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The 11,500-foot-high volcano first erupted last Saturday, killing at least 31 people. Since then, the area has experienced a series of earthquakes and tremors, some felt as far away as the Rwandan capital of Kigali, 65 miles from the volcano in the Virunga National Park.
Around 400,000 people have been evacuated from “Red Zones” in the city of Goma and its surrounding areas. Goma, the capital of the North Kivu province, is situated at the edge of Lake Kivu on the DRC’s border with Rwanda. According to official projections from the United Nations, World Bank, and others, the city is home to approximately 670,000 people. However, a number of non-governmental organizations in the region say the population is closer to 1 million.
Volcanologists say the worst-case scenario is of an eruption under the lake. This could release hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) that are currently dissolved in the water’s depths. The gas would rise to the surface of the lake, forming an invisible cloud that would linger at ground level and displace oxygen, asphyxiating life.
But the frequency and intensity of the ground tremors had lessened in the last 24 hours, suggesting the risk of a fresh eruption was subsiding.