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Nyiragongo volcano erupts in Congo, triggering evacuation as panicked residents scramble to flee to Rwanda (VIDEOS)

Nyiragongo volcano erupts in Congo, triggering evacuation as panicked residents scramble to flee to Rwanda (VIDEOS)
Mount Nyiragongo near the Congolese city of Goma has erupted, sending flames into the sky and spreading a strong smell of sulfur in the vicinity. The government has activated an evacuation plan for the city.

The volcano began erupting around 7:00pm local time on Saturday. Footage shared online shows Nyiragongo spitting smoke and fire into the air, turning the night skies red.

It is located 10km (6 miles) north of Goma, a city of 670,000 people, which is only 1km from the Rwandan border.

The eruption caused panic among residents, who rushed to flee to safety to neighboring Rwanda, many on foot. Videos and photos show people, including children, purportedly walking towards the border carrying their belongings.

Rwanda’s public broadcaster reported that more than 3,000 refugees have already crossed the border.

School, churches, and other facilities will house those fleeing the calamity, Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) said.

There have been reports of lava rapidly moving toward the city, and that lava flows were about to reach the Goma International Airport.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced an evacuation of the city. Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya tweeted that the government was “discussing... urgent measures” to deal with the situation. As the residents scrambled to evacuate, power outages were reported across Goma.

RT

The last eruption of the volcano, which is one of the world’s most active, claimed 250 lives in 2002, leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Nyiragongo’s deadliest eruption took place in 1977. At the time, flows of lava swept through the city at speeds of up to 60kph (37mph). The death toll from that eruption is unknown. AFP reported that more than 600 people were killed at the time.

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