Namibians safe after DRC volcano

The Namibian embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo has no records of any Namibians living in Goma, where a volcano erupted over the weekend.

27 May 2021 | International

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

The Namibian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) says Namibians living in that country were not affected by the Nyiragongo volcano that erupted last weekend, forcing thousands of residents of Goma to flee.

Goma is one of the biggest cities in the DRC.

According to Uulenga, by Sunday morning the situation was stabilised and the lava flow has stopped 1.5 km from the Goma airport and the lava fire had also diminished considerably.

He added that Goma was safe unless there was another explosion along the cracks and that there was some lateral expansion of the lava flow in the built-up area in front of the airport.

“Concerning Namibian nationals, the embassy has no records of any Namibian living in Goma, the North Kivu Province of the DRC where the volcano is. We continue following these developments. The DRC government has put in place an evacuation plan for the city of Goma,” said Uulenga.

The inhabitants of Goma, who had fled to Rwanda, are also beginning to gradually return to their neighbourhoods for some.

Uulenga also pointed out that there were around five thousand people who managed to cross the border to Gisenyi in Rwanda the previous evening.

“In Goma, a large part of the population spent the night under the stars, in front of the shops, arteries for those who could not reach Sake or cross the border into Rwanda.

“Others walked all night with the children to seek shelter in the more or less secure neighbourhoods west of the city.

“We could also observe the wires of the tanker trucks which evacuated fuel from the service stations located north and downtown to the western districts. In addition, several shots rang out at night towards the Virunga district precisely at the central prison of Munzenze, where the detainees were demonstrating to demand their evacuation,” he said.

The last volcanic eruption in Nyiragongo was on 17 January 2002. More than 100 people were killed. Lava had flowed until it reached a large part of the city of Goma and the airport. An eruption in 1997 killed more than 600 people.

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