According to a spokesperson for the Norwegian Refugee Council, thousands of people in Goma, a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, are spending the day outdoors after the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on Saturday.
“There has not been a huge panic movement, but residents are really worried,” said the council’s spokesperson for central and west Africa, Tom Peyre-Costa.
Residents first moved towards Rwanda, Peyre-Costa told BBC. The border was closed, so they walked back to Goma and headed to a region north of the city. Tom posted to Twitter a video of people leaving the area.
“Everywhere in the city, you watch people walking with their possessions, their goats, their children and whatever they could grab. Many of them are just sitting by the street waiting to be able to go back soon,” Tom said.
According to the Goma Volcano Observatory, the volcanic eruption seems to have calmed, which observes the volcano. The government in the city activated an evacuation plan as a defence.
Goma is on the border of Lake Kivu on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s border with Rwanda. The present-day population of Goma is 670,000 in 2021, according to a projection by the World Bank, UN and others.
Tom Peyre said several nongovernmental organisations in the city believe Goma’s population is about 1 million.
The International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO) president, Patrick Kakesa, said in an interview at 11 p.m. that the lava seems to be flowing towards the border with Rwanda.
“Because of the evacuation, customs between Gisenyi and Goma are closed overnight,” he said.
INSO guided humanitarian workers in the Munigi camp a couple of kilometres from northern Goma to head to villages further to the west.
Tom and 14 of his colleagues evacuated as a precaution.