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Goma on Tenterhooks

Tens of thousands of people are trying to escape the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), after authorities issued an evacuation order warning that the Mount Nyiragongo volcano could erupt again. At least 31 people have died and 30,000 were forced to flee their homes when the volcano in the central African country first erupted over the weekend. Since then, the area has experienced a series of earthquakes and tremors, some that were felt as far away as the Rwandan capital of Kigali, 65 miles from the volcano in the Virunga National Park. Significant cracks in the ground — some stretching the entire width of the road, others in the walls of buildings — have begun to appear. Residents say some of their neighbors in high-rise buildings have fled their homes out of fear that they might collapse. “The data from seismic activity indicates the presence of magma beneath the urban area of Goma and beneath the Kivu lake,” the military governor of North Kivu province, General Constant Ndima, said during a news conference on Thursday. “Because of this data we cannot exclude another eruption on the earth or under the lake, this could arrive without any warning,” he added, urging people to follow the order and warning them to stay away from the lava. “You could die from asphyxiation or suffer serious burns,” he said.