The Nyiragongo Volcano, which has a height of 3,470 meters, is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa. The volcano has erupted at least 34 times since the 1980s. Since 2002, the Nyiragongo River has released clouds of ash and gases and often emits lava ruffles into the crater. The volcano erupted again on May 22, but authorities fear it will not stop there. There have been earthquakes in the east of the city, and magma is feared to collect under those neighborhoods and under Lake Kivu.
The military governor of the city, Konstant Ndima, told local media that there is evidence of magma under a part of the city and also below a part of the lake. So it cannot be excluded that volcanic eruptions also occur in the city or under the lake. The main accidental risk might be that a volcanic eruption in Lake Kivu will also lead to an underwater eruption of carbon dioxide or methane. This could lead to a coastal disaster, as exposure to gases from the explosion leads to suffocation.
The eruption on Saturday killed more than 30 people. This includes accidents that happen when people try to get themselves to safety. The lava flow engulfed 17 villages and killed at least 24 people, but Goma just missed it. According to the United Nations, about 1,000 homes have been destroyed and 5,000 people have taken refuge.
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