Lava from the Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is flowing away from the nearby city of Goma, according to the United Nations peacekeeping force in the country.
A reconnaissance flight by a UN helicopter appeared to show the lava was not flowing toward Goma or any major population centers, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) said in a statement.
“There is eruption activities at the Nyiragongo mountain,” the statement said. “However, the lava of the volcano is flowing towards Rwanda. Goma city and its environs are safe. All are advised to continue to monitor the situation.”
A post on the verified Twitter account of the British Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Saturday, “Nyiragongo volcano, close to city of Goma, began erupting this evening. Current assessments indicate eruption doesn’t threaten the city itself. All should remain vigilant & Brits concerned should reach out to us … We continue to monitor the situation closely.”
The volcano started to erupt on Saturday evening, the DRC government and the Goma Volcano Observatory told CNN. The DRC government has called for calm.
The volcano’s last major eruption in 2002 killed 250 people in Goma and displaced thousands. No evacuation advisories have so far been recommended for people in Goma during Saturday’s eruption.
The 11,500-foot-high volcano is one of several near the DRC’s border with Rwanda and Uganda, an area of tropical rain forest and rare mountain gorillas.
Goma is on the edge of Lake Kivu on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s border with Rwanda.