The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is facing more woes following an earthquake of 5.3 magnitude, recorded by the Rwandan Seismic Monitor. The earthquake, which occurred this past Monday, has raised fears that the Mount Nyiragongo volcano situated in the DRC could erupt once again, following its volatile eruption that left 32 people dead this past weekend. Approximately 1000 houses have been destroyed, and 5000 people displaced in the DRC. These stats could rise as the earthquake tremors have caused concerns that the volcanic crater, reportedly refilled with lava, will erupt again.
According to TimesLIVE, the earthquake took place at 11:03 AM on Monday, May 24, in the Rugerero area located west of Rwanda. The earthquake initially started off with at 4.7 magnitude, which continued until Tuesday with a recorded 5.3 magnitude and 100 tremors. The tremors are reportedly slowly decreasing. While these successive natural disasters come across as worrying and unnatural, they in fact are connected. According to Africa CGTN, seismologist Tite Niyitegeka from Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board explained that the volcano-tectonic earthquakes are produced by vibrations generated by the movement of magma within the volcano. The earthquake affected 650 people in Rwanda and has halted activities in businesses, schools, hospitals and markets due to a fissure that appeared during the earthquake.
On Saturday, the Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted suddenly demolishing over 17 towns in DRC’s Goma and causing over 30 000 inhabitants to flee. According to IOL, over half a million people have lost access to drinking water and there is no electricity due to the damage of caused by the lava. According to a BBC News report, the number of homeless people has risen to 120 000 and the most severe impact has been the separation of children from their parents. The Red Cross is reportedly attempting to reunite mothers.
Authorities in DRC and Rwanda have warned people to take caution until the lava and tectonic shifts have stopped indefinitely.