Mount Nyiragongo, an active volcano in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, erupted on May 22, for the first time in nearly two decades.

Rendering the night sky a fiery red, the volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo spewed lava onto the main highway as terrified citizens attempted to flee Goma — a city of nearly 2 million people — on foot, carrying mattresses and other belongings, towards the frontier with Rwanda.

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The exact length of time since the volcano has been erupting is unknown, although it has erupted at least 34 times since 1882, with several stretches of prolonged eruption, mostly in the shape of a churning lava lake in the crater. 

Steam and spurts of molten rock are pictured here in the lava lake of Mount Nyiragongo on August 3, 2015. Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. 
A boy walks by the lava from the erupting volcano of Mount Nyiragongo on the runway of Goma’s airport on January 18, 2002.  After several months of increased seismic and fumarolic activity, the last eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in 2002 killed hundreds of people and covered airport runways in lava.

Also Read | Thousands flee DR Congo volcano for neighbouring Rwanda

A woman carrying a child walks on a passway in Goma over the lava left in town after the eruption of January 2002. More than 100,000 people were displaced in the eruption’s wake in 2002, contributing to the panic on Goma’s streets on Saturday night.
Residents sift through the cooling lava rocks from an eruption from Mount Nyiragongo on May 23, 2021, in Goma. Fire and strong fumes emanated from the blackish molten rock as it swallowed up houses, heading towards Goma airport on the shores of Lake Kivu.
The burning lava front from an eruption of Mount Nyiragongo flows through a residential district on May 23, 2021, in Goma. A river of boiling lava came to a halt on the outskirts of Goma Sunday, sparing the city in eastern DR Congo from disaster after the nighttime eruption of Mount Nyiragongo sent thousands of terrified residents fleeing in panic.