Nyiragongo is one of Africa's most risky volcanoes

Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupts over Goma

As the active volcano in Congo, Mount Nyaragongo, erupted again, the Indian Army contingent under the United Nations peace keeping mission (MONUSCO) assisted in protecting civilians and U.N. officials as well as assets during the evacuation, the Army said on Sunday.

Mount Nyiragongo has erupted for the first time in almost two decades, sending lava sliding down the hillside towards the eastern city of Goma and forcing thousands of people to flee. There was no official word on how many may have been killed amid the scramble to flee the city late Saturday.

The lava crossed a major highway connecting Goma with the city of Beni, severing a key supply route, but ultimately stopped short of Goma's city limits.

Goma appeared relatively calm as dawn broke, but people said they are still wary.

Goma, a city of some 1.5 million people in the shadow of the volcano, was on edge as violent aftershocks continued through the night and into Monday morning.

"The night was long - there is fear in our stomachs", she said.

Hundreds of thousands fled the city.

The volcano's deadliest eruption happened in 1977, when more than 600 people died.

Five people were killed in accidents during the evacuations, said General Constant Ndima, appointed governor early this month when the province was placed under a "state of siege" to combat violence by armed groups. Two people were found burned to death.

People trying in vain to redirect the course of the lava coming from Congo's Mount Nyiragongo could only watch as the magma reached their village.

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On the streets of Goma, panic spread quickly.

"We are asking the government to come and help the survivors of this eruption".

Volcano watchers have been anxious that the volcanic activity observed in the last five years mirrors that in the years preceding eruptions in 1977 and 2002.

By Monday the blackish solidified lava was still hot and smoking, with dozens of people turning out to inspect it or even walk on it, despite the risk of inhaling toxic fumes.

Eruptions are frequent, not just from the craters but from the sides of the volcanos.

DRC President Felix Tshisekedi has cancelled his stay in Europe to return home this Sunday in order to supervise the coordination of aid to populations in areas threatened by the volcanic eruption of Mt Nyiragongo.

This image from video provided by Raphael Kaliwavyo Raks-Brun shows Mount Nyiragongo erupting, Saturday, 22 May, 2021 in Goma, Congo.

Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya warned on Sunday that the prices of food and other essentials are set to rise in Goma as the eruption has cut off several hundred metres of the road to Butembo, the region's main trade route.

"We have seen the loss of nearly an entire neighborhood", Innocent Bahala Shamavu said.

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