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.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi stated he would be returning home on Sunday from Europe earlier than meant to assist correlative relief works.
"President Tshisekedi has chose 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 government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has ordered the evacuation of the eastern city of Goma after the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo overlooking the border city. Earlier he had said he thought lava might hit Goma, but he later said this was not the case.
"The sky has turned red", one resident, Carine Mbala, told AFP by telephone.
The authorities' evacuation plan anticipates that two-thirds of them will go to Rwanda.
"The situation is deteriorating", an official from Virunga National Park - where the erupting volcano is located - said in a message to staff, which AFP was copied in on. Rwandan state media said they would be lodged in schools and places of worship. Smoke rose from smoldering heaps of lava in the Buhene area near the city.
The first departures from the city came earlier Saturday even before Mount Nyiragongo erupted spewing red fumes into the night sky.
The Nyiragongo volcano, located not far from the DR Congo's border with Rwanda, started to erupt on Satuday.
Others fled to Mount Goma, the highest point in the metropolitan area. Power was out in multiple locations throughout the city.
The previous eruption of Nyiragongo volcano, which is over 3000 meters high, dates back to January 17, 2002.
"The volcano had devastated all our homes and all our possessions. That's why I'm scared again this time". Vehicle horns honked and motorcycle taxis weaved as people attempted to escape in panic.
"The government is closely monitoring the situation in Goma", Congo's government spokesman, Patrick Muyaya, said on Twitter. There is a blackout in most parts of the city and thousands of residents left their homes with news of "giant flames" coming from the mountain.
Several planes, belonging to Monusco and private companies, took off in the evening, according to an airport source, with a local adding they had also seen the unusual nighttime activity.