Is Nyiragongo Mount still at risk? On a terrible Saturday evening, Mount Nyiragongo erupted once more. The 22nd of May was another sad day in Goma, when many abandoned their houses and fled to safer areas away from the lava. Since then, the residents of Goma have not experienced peace, with many remaining homeless and relying on refugee aid. Mount Nyiragongo’s 2021 eruption displaced thousands of people and reached the boundaries of Goma International Airport and Bunagana, Uganda.
The number of deaths documented for this eruption was around 30, which was lower than previous eruptions of this active volcanic peak. The most recent eruption was in 2002, when around 200 people were killed and hundreds were relocated. The Mount Nyiragongo eruption in 2021 began about 6 p.m., which was early enough for people to take refuge in safer zones, and the situation eased down around 4 a.m. Many people were taken off guard by this eruption since the authority in charge of monitoring the volcano was not as active after funding was curtailed.
2 weeks after Mount Nyiragongo’s 2021 eruption, the authority in charge of monitoring the volcano, also known as the Goma Volcano observatory, was provided with finances and kept the general public informed of the volcano’s activities. Despite the fact that the lava has been seen to harden and is no longer a hazard, the Goma Volcano observatory has urged that people avoid areas with molten rock.
The Goma Volcano Observatory is most concerned about the potential of hot lava remaining beneath the molten rock, which might pose a hazard. When the volcano erupted, it also emitted hazardous fumes that, if ingested, may be fatal to people.
A few people were killed as they returned to the devastated area in search of information. This eruption has rendered around 20,000 people homeless.
Residents of Goma fled to neighbouring Rwanda and the town of Sake with some of their personal possessions to be far away from the lava ruins. The government issued an evacuation order on May 26th, citing the volcano’s continued threat of erupting. On May 31st, the region saw up to 92 earthquakes in 24 hours, indicating Mount Nyiragongo’s activity.
The scientists from the Goma Volcano Observatory returned to the volcano to obtain updates on Mount Nyiragongo and unofficially stated that the lava lake of Mount Nyiragongo is nearly empty, indicating that there will be no further eruptions in the future; however, it is still too early to predict such an outcome. To be considered dormant, a volcano must be assessed after a year of an empty lava lake with no lava.
The Goma Volcano Observatory team has been working on Mount Nyiragongo since 1995, and they believe this might be the last eruption.
They still insist on an abrupt volcanic explosion in 2021, even if it was under monitoring, because there were virtually no warning signals of an eruption. The lava poured via a multitude of vents, which is where the eruptions would begin at various spots around the region.
Residents of Goma have decided to return home after two weeks, but the government still warns against it until the location is deemed secure and the volcano is calm. The volcano’s gases may still be observed erupting. Residents are recommended to remain in Sake town or the western portion of Goma if they must return.
Lake Kivu is also rumoured to contain gases beneath it that might explode at any time, recommending people to be patient and keep a close eye on the situation. In the event of another eruption, around 100,000 children might be moved, and this is still a real threat given the recent earthquakes in the area.
Earthquakes can cause a “limnic eruption,” which occurs when enormous volumes of dissolved gases are released from deep inside Lake Kivu. The lava spilled all the way up to Lake Kivu.
This eruption occurs at a terrible moment when the entire globe is in the grip of a pandemic, and the Congolese are exposed to the virus as a result of this panic, so they are still advised to follow regular operating protocols to prevent the transmission and contraction of this fatal illness.
Goma is a town with a significant deployment of international assistance groups or UN agencies, but due to the risk of further eruptions, the staffs have been transported back to their home countries for safety, leaving the population in desperate straits.
A large portion of Goma town is still buried in volcanic rocks that hardened after the lava cooled, affecting the region’s water supply and cutting off electricity after the lava burned down the electrical poles. Also, because you can’t plant or harvest anything, the plants and gardening land are now worthless.