A volcano has erupted in Congo, prompting thousands to flee

Congo volcano eruption
Two people are seen silhouetted against a night sky turned red by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, in Goma, Congo Saturday, May 22, 2021. Associated Press/Justin Kabumba
  • A volcano has erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • It’s unclear if there were casualties, but thousands have already fled two nearby cities.
  • A United Nations peacekeeping operation posted helicopter footage of the fiery scene.
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Mount Nyiragongo has erupted in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, spewing lava onto a major highway and prompting thousands to flee, according to media reports.

It wasn’t immediately clear if any residents were killed or injured.

The United Nations’ peacekeeping operation in the area, MONUSCO, posted helicopter footage and wrote in French that the lava doesn’t appear to be heading directly towards the city of Goma, but that they “remain on alert.”

-MONUSCO (@MONUSCO) May 22, 2021

Reuters reported that thousands of residents in the cities of Goma fled, some grabbing mattresses and other belongings.

Congo volcano eruption
People flee with their belongings after the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, in Goma, Congo, Saturday, May 22, 2021. Associated Press/Justin Kabumba

The last time Mount Nyiragongo erupted was in 2002, killing 250 people and leaving 120,000 homeless, according to Reuters.

The Congolese government told the Associated Press it was enacting an evacuation plan, but the outlet reported the announcement came long after the eruption began and many had already begun to flee across the Rwandan border.