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Mount Nyiragongo Volcano: 400,000 people flee Goma as authorities warn of second eruption

Mount Nyiragongo Volcano: 400,000 people flee Goma as authorities warn of second eruption
Mount Nyiragongo Volcano: 400,000 people flee Goma as authorities warn of second eruption

 


Major Njike Kaiko Guillaume, spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu, said the Goma Volcanic Observatory had identified magma beneath the city that also lies beneath Lake Kivu. As that magma is partially drained, radar images show that the crater inside the top of the volcano continues to expand, he reported.

“Based on this information, we still can not rule out a landslide or an explosion under the lake – but someone may come with very little or no warning,” the spokesman said.

Since then, the area has experienced a series of earthquakes and tremors, some felt as far away as the Rwandan capital of Kigali, 65 miles from the volcano in Virunga National Park.

Ten neighborhoods in the “red zone” area of ​​Goma city are now being evacuated because of the dangers, with significant cracks in the ground – some stretching across the width of the road, others on the walls of buildings – already visible. About 80,000 families have been evacuated so far, the spokesman said.

A resident told CNN on Thursday that some of his neighbors in high-rise buildings had fled their homes for fear they might collapse.

Many of those fleeing have traveled on foot, carrying mattresses and kitchenware The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said Thursday.

The military spokesman said the displaced people had arrived in evacuation areas that would facilitate assistance from the government and humanitarian organizations.

Earlier Friday, UNICEF warned that up to 400,000 people, including nearly 280,000 children, could be displaced if the volcano erupts again.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest levels of hunger in the world, says the UN

“Whenever large groups of people are displaced in a short period of time, the risks to children increase,” warned UNICEF DRC representative Edouard Beigbeder. “We need to be vigilant about the immediate risks to children on the move, including protection issues, nutrition and health risks, including water-borne illness and especially the spread of cholera.”

The UN agency added that nearly 700 of the 1,000 children who were separated from their parents in the midst of Saturday’s blast chaos have now been identified and that they were helping to reunite those children with their families.

The military governor also encouraged provincial health and civilian authorities to take responsibility for unaccompanied children on Friday.

Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, is located on the shores of Lake Kivu on the DRC border with Rwanda. According to official forecasts by the UN, the World Bank and others, the city is home to some 670,000 people – yet a number of NGOs in the region place the population close to 1 million.

The mixture of current chaos is the catastrophic levels of violence and famine in the DRC that the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) says constitutes “the most neglected displacement crisis in the world”.

Multiple conflicts in the Central African country forced 2 million people to flee their homes by 2020, while there is also a sharp lack of international aid and diplomatic attention, according to a new report from the NRC.

“DR Congo is one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st century,” NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland said in a statement.

“A deadly combination of spiral violence, record levels of hunger and total neglect has ignited a mega-crisis that requires a mega response. But instead, millions of families on the brink of the abyss seem to have been forgotten by the outside world and left behind. shut up from every lifeline, “Egeland added.

The DRC has more than 27 million people, including over 3 million children, who do not have enough food to feed themselves – a third of the country’s population – and more than 5 million people who are internally displaced , according to NRC.

CNN’s George Engels also contributed to this report.

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