Cooperation on Congo volcanic and environmental risks



On 17 January 2002, the Nyiragongo volcano (1.52°S, 29.25°E, 3469 meters above sea level), located about 18 kilometers north of Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, erupted, releasing a volume of 14–34 million cubic meters of lava. Lava flows originated from north-south oriented fractures that rapidly developed along the southern flank of the volcano. Two lava flows divided the nearby city of Goma (∼500,000 people) into two parts, forcing a rapid exodus of the population into Rwanda. One of these lava flows ran into Lake Kivu, encroaching 60 meters below lake level with a submerged lava volume of 1 million cubic meters. About 15% of the town was directly affected, leaving approximately 120,000 people homeless. At least 170 people died as a direct consequence of the eruption.