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Nyamuragira Volcano erupting in DR Congo near Gorilla Park

  • Friday, July 26, 2002

The Nyamuragira volcano, located 20 kilometers north of the town of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is erupting. This eruption occurs only months after tens of thousands of people were evacuated from the region when an adjacent volcano destroyed much of Goma.

Local vulcanologist Dieudonne Wafula said ash and debris were being thrown hundreds of feet in to the air above the crater. The BBC reports that lava was flowing down both sides of the 3,000 metre high Mount Nyamuragira.

Although volatile, for the moment the eruption poses no threat to the local population or to the endangered mountain gorilla population residing on the slopes of nearby volcanoes in Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. However, the lava flow is progressing north through the Virunga National Park and could destroy dense tropical forest that is home to other rich and varied wildlife.

Nyamuragira is one of eight volcanoes found on the borders of Rwanda, the DRC and Uganda. Dense with tropical montane forests, this region is home to the remaining population of highly endangered mountain gorillas. The gorilla population stands at approximately 650.

Only two of the volcanoes in the chain are active: Nyiragongo which erupted early this year, and Nyamuragira. The eruption from Nyiragongo occurred on January 17th of this year. Rapidly flowing lava destroyed parts of the town of Goma where the International Gorilla Conservation Program office supported by the African Wildlife Foundation, WWF and Fauna & Flora is located.

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