2021 Mount Nyiragongo Eruption
2021 Mount Nyiragongo Eruption : Mount Nyiragongo is one of the 8 distributed volcanic mountains found in the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo whereby only 2 of those mountains are still active that is Mount Nyiragongo and Mountain Nyamuragira Mountain which are both found in the Democratic republic of Congo. Mount Nyiragogo is one of the world’s most beautiful and active volcanoes and a large stratovolcano located near Lake Kivu at the Eastern border of Democratic Republic of Congo with Rwanda in the Virunga National Park and Uganda.
In contrast to its neighbouring volcano, Mount Nyamuragira which is typical and very active shield volcano comparable with Mauna Loa, Nyiragongo displays the steep slopes of a stratovolcano, terraces inside the steep-walled summit which have been observed since the late-19th century. Mount Nyiragongo is about 3,470 meters high with a 1.3 km diameter summit caldera containing the world’s most active and largest lava lake and is infamous for its extremely fluid lava that runs as water when the lava lake drains.
It is notorious for its lava lake and producing lateral eruptions with extremely fluid, fast-moving lava flows that repeatedly devastated areas around the volcano, such as the Goma disaster on January 2002, when a lava flow destroyed much of the city’s commercial centre and prompted over 200,000 people to flee and claiming about 250 lives.
The large lava lake contained in this deep summit crater lava Lake became famous in the 1960’s and 70’s when volcanologists such as the Kraffts and Tazieff studied it. Two older volcanoes, Baruta and Shaheru, are partially overlapped by Nyiragongo on the north and south and look like lateral cones. About 100 parasitic cones are located primarily along radial fissures south of Shaheru, east of the summit, and along a NE-SW zone extending as far as Lake Kivu. Many cones are buried by voluninous lava flows that extend long distances down the flanks of the volcano.
Thus, Nyiragongo has been active for half a century before it drained in one of the volcano’s recent most catastrophic eruptions in 1977, through openings in its outer flanks in 1977, a huge lava flow poured out and killed hundreds of people. A similar event happened again in January 2002, when lava flows from flank vents drained the lake and cut through Goma, reaching Lake Kivu.
On January 17, 2002, Nyiragongo erupted and the lava lake drained from fissures on its western flanks. The city centre of the Goma town, the capital of the East Virunga province, had been destroyed by voluninous lava flows, about 250 people died and over 200,000 people were left homeless, adding to the human disaster caused by frequent civil wars.
A similar eruption where lava flows extend long distances down the flanks of the volcano in 2002 has happened again on the night of Saturday 22nd May 2021 in the city of Goma flowing up to about 10 kilometres reaching the area of Goma airport although the Goma airport remained untouched by the lava despite earlier reports that it had been affected.
It is reported that flowing lava stopped in the Buhene district, the outskirts of Goma, burying hundreds of houses and even large buildings. Lava is also said to have crossed the N2 road connecting Goma to the city of Beni, severing a key aid and supply route. The lava stopped short of the city’s built-up area
At least 15 deaths have been confirmed following 2021 eruption of a nearby Mount Nyiragongo whereby 9 of them died as a result of accidents during the rash hour of fleeing from the flowing lava, 4 others died as they tried to escape a prison while two were burned to death, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said on Sunday.
It has also been reported that as soon as the outbreak of the flow of lava towards Goma, most of the residents with their property started fleeing to Rwanda which is the neighbouring country to Goma. Rwandan authorities have received more than 3,000 people from Goma while others went to higher ground to the west of the city. Residents started leaving their houses even before the government announced an evacuation plan.
At night, crowds were seen fleeing on foot with mattresses and other belongings to Congo–Rwanda border. It has also been reported that more than 170 children are feared to be missing and 150 others had been separated from their families, the UN’s children’s agency said that centres would be set up to help unaccompanied minors and are searching for missing loved ones as the city, and the region continues to experience earth tremors.
Hiking Mount Nyiragongo has been one of the main tourist attractions in Congo – Virunga national park and has attracted quite large numbers of visitors to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Goma as the main town where we find Virunga national park has a population of about 2 million people residing close to the Volcanic Mountain as a result to the tourist activities that are carried out near the volcanic mountain.
Mount Nyiragongo hike safaris were opened to tourism in 2014 by Virunga national park authorities and today there are Virunga packages whereby mountain gorilla trekking is combined with hiking the Nyiragongo volcano. Visitors looking for a unique and once in a lifetime mountain hiking adventure are recommended to visit and hike Mount Nyiragongo. It is the only place in Africa where visitors are allowed to go and see a lava lake up close.