Berliner Tageblatt - Toxic ash from DR Congo volcano falling on Goma

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Toxic ash from DR Congo volcano falling on Goma
Toxic ash from DR Congo volcano falling on Goma / Photo: ©

Toxic ash from DR Congo volcano falling on Goma

More than eight months after the Nyiragongo volcano erupted in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, toxic ash has started falling on nearby Goma, the city's Volcano Observatory said on Friday.

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Thirty-two people died from burns or asphyxiation when Nyiragongo roared back into life on May 22-23, 2021, sending torrents of lava into the outskirts of Goma, capital of North Kivu province. Two more people died in accidents as residents fled en masse and hundreds of homes were destroyed.

The OVG observatory said the volcano was spewing out ash and dust because what was left of its central crater after the eruption was now collapsing.

There had been a magnitude two earthquake in the crater just beforehand, it added.

Given how toxic the ash was, the OVG urged locals to observe strict hygiene precautions -- to wear masks, avoid drinking rainwater, wash vegetables in tap water, eat in covered areas and keep food plates indoors.

The observatory said the main volcanic activity was concentrated in Mount Nyiragongo's central crater and "not all" its flanks were erupting.

Four months after the devastating May 2021 explosion, which forced an estimated 400,000 of Goma's 600,000 residents to flee, a lava lake appeared in the central crater.

Scientists said this would enable the 3,500-metre (11,500-foot) strato-volcano -- which straddles the East African Rift tectonic divide -- to "breathe".

J.Bergmann--BTB