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The Congolese Government has rubbished reports of a second volcanic eruption in the country

The latest incident comes just a week after Mount Nyiragongo devastated the area prompting an evacuation of the city.

People fleeing Goma as fears grow of a large eruption.
People fleeing Goma as fears grow of a large eruption.
Image: AP/PA Images

Updated May 29th 2021, 2:17 PM

THE CONGOLESE GOVERNMENT has said that earlier reports of a second volcanic eruption in the country was a false alarm.  

DR Congo officials said Saturday that the eruption of second volcano in the country’s east that been announced hours earlier was a “false alarm” after a plane did not spot any activity.

“False alarm on Nyamuragira. A plane has just flown over the entire area on the sides of this volcano. No eruption was observed,” the Government said in a statement.

It had earlier announced a “low intensity” eruption on the side of Mount Nyamuragira, near Mount Nyiragongo which erupted a week ago causing devastation and forcing mass evacuations.

Aid workers with Irish charity Concern have been forced to evacuate the city as a major eruption is predicted. 

The reports of a second volcanic eruption were centred around a small crater about 25 kilometres north of Goma, the capital of the North Kivu province.

Located on the shore of Lake Kivu in the shadow of Nyiragongo, Africa’s most active volcano, the city has lived in fear since it erupted last Saturday.

The strato-volcano spewed rivers of lava that claimed nearly three dozen lives and destroyed the homes of some 20,000 people before the eruption stopped.

Tens of thousands had fled Goma last Saturday night but many returned when the eruption ended the following day. Scientists have since recorded hundreds of aftershocks.

They warn of a potentially catastrophic scenario — a “limnic eruption” that could smother the area with suffocating carbon dioxide.

Goma was quiet on Saturday with limited tremors roughly averaging once every hour, as against once every 10 minutes earlier, an AFP journalist said.

There were a handful of vehicles on the streets which were semi-deserted and only some small shops were open.

A report on an emergency meeting early Friday said 80,000 households — around 400,000 inhabitants — had emptied on Thursday following a “preventative” evacuation order.

Most people have headed for Sake, around 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Goma where tens of thousands of people are gathered, or the Rwandan border in the northeast, while others have fled by boat across Lake Kivu.

Late Friday, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said those fleeing needed “urgent, global support”.

Aid efforts are being organised to provide drinking water, food and other supplies, and workers are helping to reunite children who became separated from their families.

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Aid efforts are being organised to provide drinking water, food and other supplies, and workers are helping to reunite children who became separated from their families.

Nearly 10,000 people are taking refuge in Bukavu on the southern bank of Lake Kivu, according to governor Theo Ngwabidje, many of them in host families.

Nearly 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) high, Nyiragongo straddles the East African Rift tectonic divide.

Its last major eruption, in 2002, claimed around 100 lives and the deadliest eruption on record killed more than 600 people in 1977.

© AFP 2021

With additional reporting from Niall O’Connor

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