DR Congo's Goma hit by tremors after volcanic eruption, scores still missing 

WION Web Team
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo   Updated: May 25, 2021, 12:52 PM(IST)

Congo's Mount Nyiragongo eruption (file photo) Photograph:( WION )

Story highlights

A string of small earthquakes has since struck the city, the surrounding region in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and across the border into Rwanda

Repeated tremors shook the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday, unnerving families still reeling from a volcano eruption at the weekend that destroyed nearby villages, displaced thousands and killed at least 32 people. 

Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world's most active and dangerous volcanoes, erupted on Saturday evening, sending a smouldering wall of lava half a mile wide downhill towards the city of two million people. 

The lava flow stopped a few hundred metres short of the city limits, but wrecked 17 villages on the way, cut the principal electricity supply and blocked a major road, disrupting aid deliveries. 

The death toll rose to 32 on Monday, including seven killed by lava, three by smoke, two asphyxiated by volcanic gas and four who died while trying to escape Munzenze prison in Goma, said Joseph Makundi, the head of civil defence in North Kivu province. 

A string of small earthquakes has since struck the city, the surrounding region in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and across the border into Rwanda. 

One reached a 5.1 magnitude at 10:37 am (0837 GMT) on Monday, according to the Rwanda Seismic Monitor, which is managed by the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board. 

Shops briefly reopened in Goma on Monday but many closed again as the tremors grew more severe and residents worried that these could trigger another eruption. 

Tremors struck every 30 minutes in the city from midday on Sunday. In Rwanda, a reporter saw several buildings damaged by the tremors. 

Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist based in Goma, told the lava lake in the volcano has refilled, having emptied before the initial eruption on Saturday evening, although its significance was as yet unclear. 

"The danger is small at the moment, but the earthquakes are an immediate danger as they could open another fracture, so this is why I'm a little bit worried. We have to be very careful," he said. 

Authorities in Goma also urged caution. 

"In view of the earthquake, which is becoming more severe, parents are asked not to send their children to school until further notice," army spokesman Guillaume Ndjike said. 

(With inputs from agencies) 

Read in App