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Thousands flee as powerful volcanic explosion rocks DR Congo

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Thousands flee as powerful volcano explosion rocks DR Congo

A powerful and highly active volcano that erupted on Saturday night in the eastern town of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has seen residents fleeing the city while officials are battling to effect an evacuation plan.

The recent volcano eruption from the Mount Nyiragongo is the third after such eruptions in 1977, where around 2,000 people were killed, and in 2002, which devastated the town.

By Sunday morning, officials said the speed of the lava flows had slowed and local journalists reported they had stopped just short of the outskirts of Goma, a picturesque lakeside city that is eastern Congo’s hub for trade and transport.

Videos also showed property damage but there were no reports of injuries of deaths.

Read also: DR Congo begins Ebola vaccination, as virus claims two lives

A government spokesman, Patrick Muyaya, said that Goma’s evacuation plan had been activated, while thousands had already fled the area on foot.

Most of the fleeing residents are said to have sought refuge across the border in nearby Rwanda.

By Sunday morning, lava had coursed onto a highway linking Goma with the city of Beni, and is being reported to be approaching an airport as the city grappled with power outages.

The country’s President Félix Tshisekedi, has said he would cut his trip to Europe short to return home Sunday to coordinate aid.

By Isaac Dachen…

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