You may have seen many people using the hashtag #PrayforCongo #PrayforGoma or #NyiragongoErupts over the past 12 hours.

Earlier on Saturday, residents of GOMA, an eastern city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, reported a strong smell of sulphur on the streets, and a red glow colour filling up the sky. In the late hours of the evening of Saturday 22nd May 2021, the world’s most active volcano which resides in the east of Congo in a region called ‘GOMA’ - erupted for the first time in 19 years. The military governor of North Kivu province, of which Goma is the capital, confirmed the eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano at around 7:00pm.

The eruption released lava initially which flowed east towards Rwanda, said Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist based in Goma. But later in the evening, new fractures opened in the volcano allowing lava to flow south towards Goma, he said. When people saw that the flow of lava had changed, some signalled 'Goma is the target now'.

Lava from Mount Nyiragongo approached Goma’s airport late on Saturday, and an evacuation was ordered for the city. Thousands of residents carrying mattresses and other personal belongings fled GOMA on foot – with many headed towards the shared border with Rwanda. The lava flow has now stopped after reaching the suburbs of the region.