January 2002 Disasters
- Jan. 17–18, Goma, Dem. Rep. of Congo: Rivers of molten lava poured from Nyiragongo volcano, wiping out at least a dozen villages and engulfing the city of Goma. An estimated 300,000–500,000 people were displaced, many of whom fled temporarily to neighboring Rwanda. The Red Cross set the death toll at 47, but the number was expected to rise. Experts said the eruption was the worst since 1977, when 2,000 people died after lava burst from fissures on the volcano's flanks. A few days later (Jan. 21) the hot lava touched off an explosion at a gas station in the center of Goma, killing dozens of people who were looting gasoline.
- Jan. 27, Lagos, Nigeria: More than 1,000 people were killed when a series of explosions at a military weapons depot triggered a stampede from the surrounding neighborhoods. Many of the victims were trampled to death or drowned in 2 muddy canals as they tried to flee the area.
- Jan. 28, nr. Ipiales, southwest Colombia: Ecuadorian TAME airlines Boeing 727 crashed near the crater of the Nevado de Cumbal volcano, which rises nearly 16,000 ft near the Ecuador-Colombia border. All 92 passengers and crew aboard were killed. Foggy weather and pilot error were blamed for the crash.
See also Recent Volcanic Activity