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Thousands In Goma Evacuated Amid Fears Of Further Volcanic Eruption

The threat of new volcanic eruptions from Mount
Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
have triggered thousands of residents to flee from the
eastern city of Goma, the UN humanitarian office said on

Speaking at a UN
news briefing
in Geneva, JensLaerke, spokesperson for
the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) said that
“thousands of residents from Goma in the eastern
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are displaced and on
the move after an order from the authorities to evacuate
areas that are at risk by further volcanic eruptions of

“The first eruption on 22May
killed over 30 people and the Goma Volcanological
Observatory has warned that the risk of a new eruption is
real”, he added.

People ‘moving in all

Five days after the eruption, the
Governor of North Kivu ordered people in ten districts of
Goma – a city of some 670,000 inhabitants – to evacuate
as a precautionary measure.

As strong tremors reached
up to a 4.9 magnitude on the Richter scale, there are
concerns that they could cause more lava to escape from the
many cracks in the mountain.

“It is not known
exactly how many have now left the city, but approximately
400,000 people are potentially affected by the evacuation
order”, Mr. Laerke reported, adding that “large traffic
jams were observed yesterday on the main exit roads from
Goma, people are moving in all directions, mostly on foot,
carrying what they can, but also in cars, and on

Wake of destruction

The first
eruption of lava, ash and gas destroyed houses, schools and
health structures, affected water and electricity supply
systems and cut off roads.

Until now, the humanitarian
focus has been on people directly affected by the volcanic
eruption and neighbourhoods in Goma that are without access
to water.

“This crisis is happening against the
backdrop of a situation of already high needs in North
Kivu”, explained the spokesperson.

“Forty-four per
cent of the 5 million internally displaced persons in the
DRC are in North Kivu, where also 33 per cent of the
population is severely food insecure”.


According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the Government of
Rwanda is proactively caring for displaced Congolese

“As of yesterday evening, some 4,000 people
have arrived from the DRC to Rwanda due to the volcanic
activity and more are coming”, said BabarBaloch,
UNHCR’s spokesperson.

“They are currently in two
main locations:Rugerero, which hosts more than 3,000
people and Busa Sanana, which has nearly 700,

Before last weekend, Mount Nyiragongo’s last
major eruption was in 2002, which killed 250 people and left
120,000 homeless.

Its deadliest surge happened in
1977, when it took the lives of more than 600

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