Second Volcano Erupts Near DR Congo’s Goma City: Govt

A second volcano erupted Saturday near the eastern DR Congo city of Goma, a week after Mount Nyiragongo roared back into life, causing devastation and sparking an exodus.”Today the Murara volcano near an uninhabited area of Virunga erupted,” government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said, referring to a wildlife reserve that is home to a quarter of the world’s population of critically endangered mountain gorillas.The eastern DR Congo city of Goma was eerily deserted after nearly 400,000 of its inhabitants fled following warnings that nearby Mount Nyiragongo volcano may erupt again.Goma, DRCThe wider Goma area has a population of around two million.The authorities arranged transport towards Sake, but the roads became choked with cars, trucks, buses and people seeking safety on foot.Many spent the night in the open or slept in schools or churches.Evacuee Eugene Kubugoo said the water was giving children diarrhea, adding: “We don’t have anything to eat or any place to sleep.”Tens of thousands had fled Goma last Saturday night but many returned when the eruption ended the following day.’Limnic’ riskFriday’s report, issued after experts carried out a risk assessment at the volcano’s summit, said “seismicity and ground deformation continues to indicate the presence of magma under the Goma area, with an extension under Lake Kivu.”People should remain vigilant and listen to news bulletins, as the situation “may change quickly”, it warned.People carry their belongings as they evacuate from recurrent earth tremors as aftershocks after homes were covered with lava deposited by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo May 25, 2021.Volcanologists say the worst-case scenario is of an eruption under the lake.This could release hundreds of thousands of tons 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.In 1986, one of these so-called limnic eruptions killed more than 1,700 people and thousands of cattle at Lake Nyos in western Cameroon.Empty cityOn Friday, almost all the shops and banks in central Goma were closed, and just a handful of people and some motorcycle taxis were on the usually bustling streets.In the poorer districts in the north of the city, a handful of stores were open and there were more people, including children who gamboled near a water truck.”I will stay in the city. I know that I’m in imminent danger, but I don’t have a choice,” said Aline Uramahoro, who has a beer store.”I will leave when the volcano starts spitting.”Nearly 3,500 meters high, Nyiragongo straddles the East African Rift tectonic divide.Its last major eruption, in 2002, claimed around 100 lives and the deadliest eruption on record killed more than 600 people in 1977.Herman Paluku, who gave his age as 94, said he had seen them all — and insisted he wouldn’t budge this time.”There is a small hill near here which means that the lava does not reach us. And that’s what protects us a bit,” he said in Swahili, his hands sweeping the air.”I can never leave here, in this situation. I can’t.”

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