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Residents return home as Nyiragongo lava flow stops

Residents are seen gathering in a busy street after an eruption from Mount Nyiragongo on May 23, 2021 in Goma in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo.


A few hours after finding refuge in Rwanda, some residents of Goma in the DR Congo are returning home as the Nyiragongo volcano, which erupted on Saturday, seems to be calming down. At least 7,000 residents of Goma were received on Saturday in Rubavu, Rwanda. This aerial view shows debris engulfing buildings in Bushara village, Nyiragongo area, near Goma, on May 23, 2021, after a volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, that sent thousands fleeing during the night in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.


Local authorities that followed the course of the eruption overnight report that the lava flow had stopped, but that there were some earthquakes. The assessment of the humanitarian situation was underway, said Patrick Muyaya, spokesman of the Congolese government. However, the volcano observatory in Goma said it regretted that the populations were returning to dangerous areas classified as “red zones” without waiting for the order of the governor of North Kivu.

It appeared Sunday that the city of Goma had been spared as calm and serenity were once again noticeable. What remained was the assessment of the destruction since the eruption, which the government said would be followed by a comprehensive report.

According to military governor Constant Ndima, five people died in an accident while trying to flee. The Congolese nature conservation institute, which was concerned about Virunga park, said “the tourists present yesterday at the crater are safe and sound” and that “the mountain gorillas are not threatened”.

The authorities said, however, that they would remain cautious. Right after the volcano burst into activity at around 7 pm local time on Saturday, the night sky of Goma, with a population of nearly 2 million, was illuminated with orange flames. The electricity supply across much of city was cut off.

Nyiragongo volcano

This general view taken on May 22, 2021 in Goma in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo shows flame spewing from the Nyiragongo volcano.
Goma is home to two active volcanoes — Nyamulagira and Nyiragongo. The last time a major Nyiragongo eruption occurred was in 2002, when about 250 people were killed and 120,000 others were left homeless. –