Virunga Volcano erupts again in eastern Congo


Mt. Nyamarugira, one of the most active volcanoes in the eastern Congo, erupted over the last weekend and is said to be spewing clouds of ash and smoke into the skies over the Virunga mountains, besides lava flows which are already burning parts of the forests on its slopes. The wildlife in the area, including chimpanzees, are said to be fleeing from the scene and park rangers and wardens are apparently monitoring the direction of the lava flow.

The volcano is located some 20+ kilometers from the town of Goma, itself a victim of an eruption a couple of years ago, when part of the town and of the airport were buried under a lava flow. No immediate danger reportedly exists for Goma, but even there, events are being carefully monitored to allow an early evacuation of the town, should the eruptions intensify.

The UN’s MONUC force has, according to a reliable source in Goma, provided helicopters for regular flights to monitor around the mountain, which stands over 3,000 metres tall and is one of the highest peaks of the Virunga mountain range. This column has also been asked by other sources from Goma to point out that NO mountain gorillas are affected by the eruption, as their habitat is further away from the volcano.

Meanwhile, sources from both Rwanda and Uganda have also reacted to the eruption and reassured visitors to the respective border areas for gorilla and primate tracking, that there was no danger to those parks in Rwanda and Uganda as Mt. Nyamarugira was deep inside the Congo territory and posed no threat to tourists or residents in neighboring countries.