This week's eruption has killed 15 people so far:
The observatory’s efforts to keep an eye on Nyiragongo have been somewhat stymied as of late. Some of its seismic stations had been subjected to theft and vandalism, with the risk of violence leaving many of them unrepaired. The observatory also lost financial support from the World Bank last year amid allegations of embezzlement.
Consequently, for several months, remote sensors lacked an internet connection, and regular on-site measurements of the volcano were not possible. Despite these ongoing issues, the observatory, with a small budget from the DRC government, and in cooperation with other international partners, kept up its efforts to monitor Nyiragongo.
But in the end, the volcano erupted unexpectedly, providing no clear geologic hints that it was about to blow. “There was absolutely no precursor for this eruption,” Smets says. “Nobody could have detected this eruption” in advance.