Volcano Eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo Kills at Least 31
Mount Nyiragongo, which erupted on Saturday, displaced thousands of people, and many still remain missing.
At least 31 people have been killed and hundreds more missing after Mount Nyiragongo erupted in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the weekend. Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said that the death toll would probably rise as the search continues for missing people.
In a statement on Sunday, Muyaya also said that nine people died in a car accident as they tried to flee, four people died while trying to escape a prison, and at least seven more people were burned to death. More than 150 children have also been separated from their families, and 170 more children are feared to be missing, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
The eruption, which began at 6 p.m. on Saturday and continued until 4 a.m., stopped short of nearby city limits but the lava flowed downhill toward Goma. The lava also crossed a major highway nearby between Goma and Beni. About 8,000 people crossed into Rwanda after the eruption to seek refuge, according to Rwanda's Emergency Management Ministry. Another 25,000 were displaced internally.
Many will be returning to find damaged homes and a lack of electricity and water, UNICEF said.
"Everywhere in the city you see people walking with their belongings, their children and even their goats and whatever they could grab. Most of them are just sitting by the road waiting to be able to go back any time soon,” Tom Peyre-Costa, the Norwegian Refugee Council spokesperson for west and central Africa said on Sunday.
A DRC government spokesperson said that they have not advised those who evacuated their homes to return as seismic activity has not ceased, CNN reported. Goma and the surrounding area have been hit with several earthquakes since the eruption. There was a 5.1 magnitude earthquake on Monday.
"The danger is small at the moment, but the earthquakes are an immediate danger as they could open another fracture, so this is why I'm a little bit worried. We have to be very careful," Goma-based volcanologist Dario Tedesco told ABC News.
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