21:30 GMT16 June 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, is returning from Europe to oversee relief efforts amid an eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano.

    Tshisekedi expressed support for the local populations and is now closely monitoring the security and humanitarian situation in DR Congo’s eastern North Kivu province, the presidency said.

    "President Tshisekedi has decided to interrupt his stay in Europe to return home this Sunday in order to supervise the coordination of aid to populations in areas threatened by this volcanic eruption," according to a tweeted statement, released on the president's official account.

    The North Kivu governor, Lt. Gen. Ndima Kongba Constant, said in a televised address on Saturday that local civil defense forces started evacuating residents of the city of Goma after the nearby Nyiragongo volcano began to erupt.

    Radio Rwanda reported that around 3,000 residents of Goma have already arrived in the neighboring Rwanda, escaping the volcano eruption. Rubavu district authorities are taking emergency measures to provide shelter to the displaced.

    The active Mount Nyiragongo volcano is located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu. It started erupting at 7 p.m., local time, on Saturday (17:00 GMT). The last time a major Nyiragongo eruption occurred was in 2002, and around 250 people were killed and 120,000 were left without homes, as deadly pyroclastic lava flows rapidly destroyed about 20 percent of Goma.


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