Volcano erupts in the Congo spewing red fumes into the night sky

A volcano has erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, spewing red fumes into the night sky and sending residents fleeing for their lives into neighbouring Rwanda.  

The military governor of North Kivu province, of which Goma is capital, ‘confirmed the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano … at around 7:00 pm’.

‘Investigations are underway and people must follow the guidance of civil protection’ units, General Constant Ndima said, appealing for ‘calm’.

Power was cut in large parts of the city and hundreds of residents began leaving their homes and heading towards the nearby border with Rwanda. 

The volcano sits in the Virunga National Park, which is also home to endangered mountain gorillas.

The Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted on Saturday, spewing red fumes into the night sky over the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern city of Goma and sparking an exodus to neighbouring Rwanda

The Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted on Saturday, spewing red fumes into the night sky over the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern city of Goma and sparking an exodus to neighbouring Rwanda

The Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted on Saturday, spewing red fumes into the night sky over the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern city of Goma and sparking an exodus to neighbouring Rwanda

Power was cut in large parts of the city and hundreds of residents began leaving their homes and heading towards the nearby border with Rwanda

Power was cut in large parts of the city and hundreds of residents began leaving their homes and heading towards the nearby border with Rwanda

Power was cut in large parts of the city and hundreds of residents began leaving their homes and heading towards the nearby border with Rwanda

The eruption has turned the sky red over the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The eruption has turned the sky red over the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The eruption has turned the sky red over the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo

A Congolese woman, carrying possessions on her head, flees from Mount Nyiragongo volcano as it erupts over Goma

A Congolese woman, carrying possessions on her head, flees from Mount Nyiragongo volcano as it erupts over Goma

A Congolese woman, carrying possessions on her head, flees from Mount Nyiragongo volcano as it erupts over Goma

A general view shows smoke and flames of the volcanic eruption near Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

A general view shows smoke and flames of the volcanic eruption near Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

A general view shows smoke and flames of the volcanic eruption near Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo 

‘The sky has turned red,’ one resident, Carine Mbala, told AFP by telephone.

‘There is a smell of sulphur. In the distance you can see giant flames coming out of the mountain.

‘But there has not been any earthquake,’ she added.

‘People are leaving or preparing to leave,’ another resident told AFP, as the streets began filling up, some carrying as many of their belongings as they could.

‘The people are leaving or preparing to leave,’ an inhabitant said.

‘I am taking the children and getting into the car. There is a risk that the lava will flow on Goma,’ another said.

For the moment, there is no sign of a flow of lava from the city, the correspondent said.

People in the street as the Mount Nyiragongo volcano burst into activity, spewing red fumes into the night sky

People in the street as the Mount Nyiragongo volcano burst into activity, spewing red fumes into the night sky

People in the street as the Mount Nyiragongo volcano burst into activity, spewing red fumes into the night sky

Flames are seen in the outskirts of the city of Goma from the activity of the Nyiragongo volcano

Flames are seen in the outskirts of the city of Goma from the activity of the Nyiragongo volcano

Flames are seen in the outskirts of the city of Goma from the activity of the Nyiragongo volcano

Civilians watch the smoke and flames of the volcanic eruption near Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

Civilians watch the smoke and flames of the volcanic eruption near Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

Civilians watch the smoke and flames of the volcanic eruption near Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

Goma residents are seen leaving the city following a sudden activity of the Nyiragongo volcano

Goma residents are seen leaving the city following a sudden activity of the Nyiragongo volcano

Goma residents are seen leaving the city following a sudden activity of the Nyiragongo volcano

Congolese residents of Goma flee from Mount Nyiragongo volcano as it erupts over Goma

Congolese residents of Goma flee from Mount Nyiragongo volcano as it erupts over Goma

Congolese residents of Goma flee from Mount Nyiragongo volcano as it erupts over Goma

But the last time Nyiragongo erupted was January 17, 2002, killing more than a hundred people and covering almost all of the eastern part of Goma with lava, including half of the airport’s landing strip.

Hundreds of thousands fled the city.

The deadliest eruption of the 3,000-metre high volcano was in 1977, when more than 600 died.

Goma sits on the mountain’s southern flank and overlooks Lake Kivu.

The Goma region, which lies in North Kivu province, bordering Rwanda and Uganda, has six volcanoes, all higher than 3,000 metres.

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