Volcanic eruptions are one of the most dramatic and violent agents of change. Eruption often force people living near volcanoes to abandon their land and homes. Therefore, volcano observations are a critical tool for government to reduce the impact of volcanic eruptions. It is the responsibility of government, scientist and local citizens to support the efforts of these institutions, to make those at risk safer.
However, according to the United Nation radio station Okapi, the volcano that erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo had not be monitored for 7 months adding that the funding from the World Bank had been stopped almost a year ago amidst embezzlement allegations.
A mass evacuation was launched in the city of Goma which has a population of about 2 million on Saturday night after a large volcano erupted. About 5,000 people fled the city across the nearby border into Rwanda while another 25,000 others sought refuge in the northwest, in Sake. More than 170 children are feared to be missing and 150 others had been separated from their families, the UNICEF said.
However, the city and airport were spared and residents have started returning back home, meeting all their houses and properties in ruins.
In all, 17 villages were hit and 3 health centres, a primary school and a water pipeline were destroyed. Residents say there was little warning before the dark sky turned fairy red, sending people running for their lives in all directions. One woman went into labour and gave birth while fleeing the eruption to Rwanda, the National broadcaster there said.
The volcano located 6 miles from Goma, last erupted in 2002, killing 250 people and rendering 120,000 homeless.
Mount Nyiragongo is one of the world’s more active volcanoes. The deadliest eruption of the 3,000-meter high volcano was in 1977 when more than 600 died.