DRC refugees returning home after lava flows stopped

2021-05-24 13:42:33Xinhua Editor : Jing Yuxin ECNS App Download

Thousands of residents from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) seeking refuge in Rwanda are on their way back home after lava flows from the Mount Nyiragongo volcano stopped, Rwanda's Emergency Management Ministry said on Sunday.

"This morning, after lava flows from Nyiragongo volcano have stopped, most of Congolese evacuated to Rabavu are returning back home. Rwanda received around 8,000 people last night," the ministry tweeted.

Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said that at least 15 people were killed while fleeing the threats of lava.

Nine people were killed in a truck rollover accident while four victims were prisoners trying to break the Munzenze central prison in Goma, the spokesman said, adding that two more people were burned to death on Sunday morning.

Helicopters of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC made constant reconnaissance flights after the eruption over the crater to closely monitor the situation.

The DRC authorities have not yet released the assessed collateral damage caused by the eruption. Muyaya still urged residents to avoid non-essential activities while seismic activity in the area could still cause damage.

Right after the volcano burst into activity at around 7 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) on Saturday, the country's eastern city of Goma, with a population of nearly 2 million, saw the night sky illuminated with orange flames. Electricity supply across much of the city was cut off.

According to local authorities, the lava flow came to a stop at around 4 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) on Sunday morning on the outskirts of Goma. The Norwegian Refugee Council estimated that about 600 homes and 5 schools were destroyed by the lava flows.

Goma is home to two active volcanoes -- Nyamulagira and Nyiragongo. Nyiragongo's last major eruption in 2002 killed about 250 people and displaced thousands.


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