Volcanic Eruption in the Congo

When I heard the news of a big volcanic eruption in The Congo on 17 January 2001, I wrote to Luke Ouko, who hosts an egg in Nairobi, to ask for more specific information than I could get from BBC and CNN.

Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 16:36:43 
From: Luke Ouko 
Subject: Volcanic Eruption! 

The volcanic eruption was big news. More so for me because I have worked 
in Goma before.  I will probably go there some time during the course of the 
week to help with some volunteer work. I will get you some links you can look 
at to get a better picture. It is unfortunate that big media organizations 
like CNN do not seem to have found much to report.

Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 05:05:19

Location: Nyiragongo Volcano(Democratic Republic of Congo) 1.52 S, 29.25 E.

Nyiragongo volcano in eastern Congo erupted early Thursday morning (17th
January), sending out plumes of ash and three rivers of lava that destroyed
14 villages near the Rwandan border and drove thousands from their homes.
There have been 47 fatalities so far. Injuries have been caused by lava,
firearms, and hit by vehicles leaving the area. The risk of disease and
malnutrition may cause many more deaths in the coming weeks.

Mount Nyiragongo is just 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Goma, a city 
of 350,000 people. With as many as 400,000 persons potentially homeless,
the shelter needs will be considerable.
The earliest news to an international audience was not available until
some time on Thursday night off BBC mainly. Most other media only picked up
on the story on Saturday.

Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 15:50:27

I am sorry that this information is coming so late. I spent a lot of time
trying to sort out the staff I needed to prepare for my trip to the DRC.

The times of the start of the disaster vary between 4.55 AM and 5.05 AM
depending on who you talk to. But I guess this should be close enough of
an estimate.  


The formal prediction specified a short time before, and an aftermath period of a few hours, for a total of four hours. Specifically, 4:45 to 8:45, local time. Nairobi is 3 hours East of Greenwich, and Goma is probably in the same timezone, so the UTC interval for the formal analysis period was set for 01:45 to 05:45. The data do not show a strong departure from expectation, with Chi-square 14292 on 14400 df, and p = 0.737. Explorations of longer periods or details close to the eruptions show no obvious trends, though there is a tendency for the whole day to show smaller than expected deviations.

Volcanic Eruption in the

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