Lava from a volcanic eruption approached parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s main city of Goma late on Saturday (May 22) with the government urging residents to evacuate.
Molten lava from Mount Nyiragongo set homes on fire as it slowly spread to the lakeside city of about 2 million. Tthousands of residents fled on foot, many towards the frontier with Rwanda. Some were seen making last ditch efforts to throw water at burning buildings.
Rwanda’s Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management said more than 3,500 Congolese have crossed the border. Rwandan state media said they would be lodged in schools and places of worship.
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.
Nyiragongo’s last 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.