Thousands return to Democratic Republic of Congo after Mount Nyiragongo volcano eruption


May 23 (UPI) — Thousands of people who evacuated the Democratic Republic of Congo after the Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted returned to view the aftermath Sunday.

Rwanda’s Emergency Management Ministry said that at least 8,000 people crossed the border into the country following the eruption.


“This morning, after lava flows from Nyiragongo volcano have stopped, most of Congolese evacuated to Rubavu are returning back home,” the ministry said.

As many as 11 people died in the aftermath of the eruption, officials told CNN. Five people died in a car crash, four prisoners died while attempting to escape Camp Munzenze prison and two more people died on Sunday but details were not immediately released.

More than 170 children remain missing and 150 children were separated from their families.

The Norwegian Refugee Council reported that six hundred homes and six schools in the city of Goma, in the eastern DRC, were destroyed.

Thousands of residents of Goma spent the night outdoors after the eruption, Tom Peyre-Costa the NRC’s representative for west and central Africa said.

“There has not been a massive panic movement, but people are really worried,” said Peyre-Costa.

The Goma Volcano Observatory said the volcanic eruption appears to have subsided.

DRC Communications Minister Patrick Muyay said the government was having an emergency meeting Sunday and warned that seismic tremors had been felt in the area in the aftermath of the eruption.

“People are advised to remain vigilant, avoid non-essential travel and follow directions,” he said.

The volcano is one of the largest in the world and Saturday’s eruption was the first since one in 2002 which killed 250 people.