Image source - nytimes.com
Mount Nyiragongo has erupted for the first time in nearly two decades, sending lava sliding down the hillside. Flow of glowing red molten lava forced nearly 20 Million people to fled the city of Goma on foot while carrying necessary belongings. Nyiragongo’s last eruption in 2002 killed 250 people and left 120,000 homeless in the DRC. It is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and is considered among the most dangerous.
Flooding of lava in village after dark resulted in killing at least 15 people, destroying more than 500 homes, officials and survivors have said. Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said he would be returning home on Sunday from Europe earlier than planned in order to help coordinate relief efforts.
The government said an evacuation plan was being activated, but the official announcement came several hours after the sky turned a fiery red, and many already had fled on foot in hopes of crossing the Rwandan border post just outside town. Car horns honked and motorcycle taxis weaved as people attempted to escape in panic.
The lack of immediate announcements from authorities and conflicting accounts circulating on social media only added to the sense of chaos in Goma. Authorities at the Goma Volcano Observatory initially said it was the nearby Nyamulagira volcano that had erupted. The two volcano are located about 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) apart.
Indian Army contingent under the United Nations peace keeping mission (MONUSCO) assisted in protecting civilians and U.N. officials as well as assets during the evacuation