Mount Nyiragongo Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes erupted in surprise on the 22nd of May 2021. The Mount Nyiragongo volcano eruption was sudden leaving thousands running for their lives.
The eruption which was caused when fractures opened in the side of the volcano and resulted in lava flowing in several directions took residents, experts, and officials by surprise.
Observatory officials had not done comprehensive seismic checks on the volcano since October last year because of a lack of funds for internet, they received funding in April this year from a US partner however, too much time had been lost.
“As soon as the internet was restored, we had started recording the warning signals, but since we did not have previous data, we thought it was the start of volcanic activity,” Celestin Kasereka Mahinda, the observatory’s scientific director, said. “Hence this surprise.”
However, although the Nyiragongo eruption of 2021 was a surprise to observatory officials, volcano watchers and experts had been sounding the alarm in recent months about a possible Nyiragongo eruption based on increased activity and other indicators. By Sunday morning the lava flows had stopped.
Mount Nyiragongo is situated near the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo with Rwanda. It is one of the world’s most active and dangerous volcanoes recorded to have erupted seven times in the past 100 years.
Nyiragongo is said to be dangerous because its lava is very fluid and fast, so fast that it can catch up to speeding cars. Volcanoes in this region also “belch out” a lot of carbon dioxide which sinks downslope and kills anyone engulfed by it. States volcano expert Robin George Andrews.
All together in the Mount Nyiragongo Volcano eruption of 2021, 22 people died in the aftermath, said, officials.
Five people died in a car accident when they tried to evacuate, Peyre-Costa told CNN.
Four prisoners also died while trying to escape from Camp Munzenze prison following the eruption, government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya told CNN. He said the prisoners were “trying to escape and could have clashed with guards.”
Muyaya said another two people died on Sunday, but did not elaborate on the circumstances.
Six hundred homes around Goma have been destroyed and five schools flattened, according to NRC estimates.
The volcanic eruption seems to have subsided, according to the Goma Volcano Observatory, which monitors the volcano. Authorities in the city activated an evacuation plan as a precaution.
The eruption has surely had an impact on the tourism sector. However, although the volcano is close to the Virunga National Park that is home to the mountain gorillas, none of them has been reported to be in danger yet.
Goma Airport had also been spared and not affected by the lava flow. The airport is located just about 10km from the volcano and in the 2002 eruption, it was affected.
With the current Mount Nyiragongo Volcano eruption, Congo tours have been disrupted, however, the situation is closely being watched as lava cools.
However, the neighboring countries were not affected and it is still possible for tourists to have trips including Rwanda gorilla tours and Uganda safaris for primate tracking, bird watching, chimpanzee trekking, and any other kind of activity.