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Nyamuragira Volcano erupts in the Virunga massif

Africa’s most active volcano, Nyamuragira, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, began erupting on November 6th, 2011 threatening the nearby Virunga national park. The volcano is located 25 km north of Lake Kivu, north-west of the town of Goma, on Congo’s eastern border with Rwanda.

According to Dr Jean Felix Kinani, MGVP Rwanda In-Country Field Veterinarian, lava is flowing within Virunga National Park but presently poses no danger to animals or humans. The park is home to 200 endangered mountain gorillas.

“It is apparently still flowing slowly. It has now reached 18 kilometres within the park but no animal has been affected,” he said in an interview with The New Times, a Rwandan daily. Gases were visible from Musanze town of Rwanda just behind the Bisoke Volcano.

He said that the area where the lava is flowing is not a mountain gorilla habitat, but hastened to add that the territory has many other wildlife species, including antelopes and buffaloes that could be threatened.

Kinani noted that stakeholders in Virunga National Park are closely monitoring the situation to ensure that no animals are affected.

He added that Nyamuragira’s magma has very low viscosity due to low silica content which explains why it is not dangerous contrary to popular belief.

Virunga National Park in DRC is the biggest of the three national parks that form the junction of Virunga massif together with the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.