UN helping to monitor volcanic eruption in eastern DR Congo

North Kivu - Nyamulagira volcano erupts

4 January 2010 – Following the eruption of a volcano in the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country is using its aviation force to help to keep a close eye on lava flow.

Mount Nyamulagira, which sits some 40 kilometres northwest of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, erupted on Saturday, and while it has not affected any people, the lava has spewed into a non-populated area of the Virunga National Park.

The UN mission known as MONUC has put its Indian aviation force and helicopters at the disposal of local authorities, scientists with the Volcanic Observatory of Goma and the National Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) to help monitor volcanic activity.

MONUC said that for now, the population of Goma and its surrounding areas seem to be safe from any lava flow, but that the mission stands ready to provide additional support to officials, who have assured people that the nearby volcano of Nyiragongo will be unaffected by the eruption of Nyamulagira.

The ICCN has expressed concern over the threat posed by the volcanic eruption on Virunga National Park’s ecosystems and wildlife, including the possible migration or death of animals in the site.

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