400,000 people flee Goma after warning of second volcanic eruption

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Major Najik Kaiko Guillume, a spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu, said Goma’s volcanic observatory had identified magma beneath the city that also extends beneath Lake Kivu. While that magma has partially precipitated, radar images indicate that the crater continues to expand inside the volcano’s crest, he reported.

“Based on this information, we still cannot exclude a ground explosion or explosion below the lake – but one can give little or no warning,” the spokesperson said.

Since then, the region has experienced a series of earthquakes and tremors, some felt as far away as the Rwanda capital of Kigali, 65 miles from the volcano in Virunga National Park.

Ten mohallas in the “Red Zone” area of ​​Goma City are now being evacuated due to the risk that significant cracks in the ground – some extending across the entire width of the road, others into the walls of buildings – are already visible She has been The spokesman said that so far around 80,000 houses have been evacuated.

A resident told CNN on Thursday that some of his neighbors had fled their homes in high-rise buildings over fears that they might collapse.

Many of the escapees have traveled on foot with mattresses and cooking utensils The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) gave this information on Thursday.

The military spokesman said the displaced people are arriving in evacuation zones which will facilitate assistance from the government and humanitarian organizations.

Earlier on Friday, UNICEF warned that 400,000 people, including about 280,000 children, could be displaced if the volcano erupts again.

“Whenever large groups of people are displaced in a short period of time, the danger to children increases,” warned Edouard Begbader, UNICEF’s representative in the DRC. “We must be alert to immediate risks to children, including safety issues, nutritional and health risks, including waterborne diseases and the spread of cholera in particular.”

The UN agency said that out of 1,000 children separated from their parents amid the chaos of Saturday’s explosion, about 700 children have now been identified, and they are able to reunite those children with their families Are helping

The military governor encouraged provincial health and civil authorities to take responsibility for the children alone on Friday.

Goma, the capital of North Kivu Province, is located on the shores of Lake Kivu on the DRC’s border with Rwanda. According to official estimates from the United Nations, World Bank and others, the city is home to around 670,000 people – although many non-governmental organizations in the region place the population at close to 1 million.

Increasing the existing chaos Horrifying levels of violence and hunger in DRC According to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) it is “the world’s most neglected displacement crisis”.

According to a new NRC report, several conflicts in the Central African country forced 2 million people to leave their homes in 2020, while there is also a lack of international aid and diplomatic attention.

“DR Congo is one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st century,” NRC Secretary General Jan Egland said in a statement.

“The deadly combination of rising violence, record hunger levels, and total neglect has ignited a mega-crisis that guarantees a mega-response. But instead, millions of families on the verge of abyss are forgotten by the outside world Are and are left off any support lifeline, ”Egland said.

According to the NRC, the DRC has more than 27 million people, including more than 30 million children, who do not have enough food to feed themselves – a third of the country’s population – and more than 5 million people who are internally Are displaced from.

George Engels of CNN also contributed to this report.

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