Many families displaced by the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) fled into neighbouring Rwanda to find safety. Thousands were forced from their homes after dark on Saturday, 22 May as lava flowed towards the town of Goma.
“The volcano erupted and the tremors were horrible, at night we could not sleep and during the day houses would just collapse,” said Joyce, a displaced Congolese.
Volcano erupts in eastern Congo, thousands flee as lava flows into Goma:
People said they were struggling to find enough food and water as the United Nations called for aid and warned about the risk of cholera in Congo last week. Those who crossed into Rwanda are now receiving food, shelter, and blankets from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR and other partners.
At least 31 people died and 3 000 homes were destroyed. Roads used for economic activity and supplying aid in the region were cut off.
“We saw flames exploding from Nyiragongo volcano at twelve o’clock in the evening. The fire was raging, killing people, and destroying fields and crops, as well as houses and villages. We then flee to Rwanda to save our lives,” said Esther, who also fled to Rwanda.
Although the lava stopped just short of the city limits, thousands more people fled last week when the government warned that the volcano, one of the world’s most active, could erupt again.
Mount Nyiragongo volcano last erupted in 2002, killing over 200 people and displacing more than 100 000.