DR Congo: Nyiragongo volcano update 22 Jan 2002

Report
from European Volcanological Society
Published on 22 Jan 2002
On Tuesday 21th of January eruptive activity was still continuing. As tremors continue, scientists say the volcano in the Congo may erupt during several days. According to local observer,yesterday, a new eruptive fissure opened on the North flank of the volcano a the lava flowed toward the Virunga National Park.The eruption of Mount Nyirangongo destroyed parts of Goma, with rivers of molten lava streaming through the city. The lava ignited a Goma petrol station early Monday, sparking a huge explosion. U.N. officials reported at least 60 deaths. An european volcanologists team will arrive today in Goma to assist local scientistq.
On sunday 20th of January evening eruptive activity was slowly continuing. Lava flows velocity rate dropped during this day.As of afternoon of 20 January, three lava streams that split the town of Goma into three, continued smouldering in certain areas, while many areas had cooled to the point where people managed to climb over them. Small fires continue burning throughout Goma town, with smell of gas reported. At the Goma airport, buildings remain entirely intact, however the runway was partially covered. Rwandan volcanologist Dieudonne Wafula, who flew over Nyiragongo on Saturday, said the pressure of the lava stream was falling and several flows from the mountain had stopped. "The danger has not gone away completely, but there's no risk of an imminent eruption," he said. "There is one lava jet, but the pressure is falling." however, the seismic activity still occured. During the night between Saturday on Sunday several earthquakes were felt by the population of the Kigali, the Capitale of the Rwanda.Many of those left homeless fled east into neighbouring Rwanda. U.N. officials reported at least 40 deaths. Hospital officials in Gisenyi, Rwanda, recorded 16 deaths but said a definitive count was not possible because of the chaos.

Nyiragongo volcano in eastern Congo, which lies some 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Goma erupted on Thursday 17 th of January at 5:00 am(O300 GMT) sending out plumes of ash and three rivers of lava that destroyed 14 villages near the Rwandan border and drove thousands from their homes. The sky around Mount Nyiragongo began glowing red, and ash fell on the nearby town of Goma before dawn Thursday. Three lava flows were detected, two coming down the mountain's east side and one down the west. One of the flows was heading towards the airport at about 20 kilometres (12 miles) per hour. In the early afternoon, it had reached a point three kilometres (1.8 miles) north of the airport, five kilometres (three miles) north of the town, although a small hill was slowing its progress. The lava from the eruption was coming not from its summit but from cracks on three of its flanks, producing three molten rivers. Thousands of people were left homeless when the lava destroyed their villages. Most fled to Goma, 30 miles south of the volcano, while hundreds of others tried to enter neighboring Rwanda, but were turned away by border guards. There were no reports of deaths or injuries. Pierre Ramazani, an aid worker with the French aid group Medecins du Monde reported he saw hundreds of people walking on roads. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo reported 350 U.N. international staff members were evacuated by road and by plane from Goma. Airport officials ordered all planes to fly out ahead of the advancing lava. One of the eastern flows cut the main road heading north to Butembo before stalling short of the Rwandan border. The other main road, heading south to Bukavu, was threatened by the western flow. According to information from Goma-based U.N. officer the lava leveled Mugerwa village was completely destroyed and banana plantations are blazing. The lava was flowing at 5 feet per minute. Latest news reported that thousands of residents of Goma, who fled their homes for nearby Rwanda as vast areas of the town were set ablaze yesterday by lava flows from the erupting volcano, started returning at dawn on Friday 18 th. Preliminary information reported that the town is largely destroyed, A flow of lava up to two metres (more than six feet) high cut across the town, which burned for part of the night of Thursday. According to local witnesses, at daybreak the lava was continuing to flow but it no longer threatened to cut the road linking Goma with Rwandasaid. None had seen any casualties.A river of lava flowed through the center of Goma on Saturday and burned everything in its path, killing up to 40, creating a five-foot-high wall of cooling stone and leaving a half-million people homeless. The 130-foot-wide path of molten rock made a fishhook pattern as it rolled down Mount Nyiragongo, 12 miles north of Goma, passed through the central business district and flowed into Lake Kivu, sending sulfuric smoke and steam into the air. The Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes, are the only two active volcanoes in the region. They have erupted occasionally since 1979. Information : UN Agency, press reports and Professor Wafula (Goma).