Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
More than 20,000 people have been left homeless and 40 are still missing in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption that killed dozens in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN humanitarian agency says.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Wednesday the volcanic eruption at Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo was still triggering strong earthquakes in the nearby city of Goma, the central hub for aid operations in the east. More than 200 small and medium earthquakes since Saturday’s eruption have damaged buildings and streets in Goma.
The ash cloud caused by the eruption has closed down airports in Goma and Bukavu and is likely to cause respiratory diseases. The death toll from the eruption rose to 32 on Tuesday. People who fled their homes have lost valuable possessions, including motorcycles that were either consumed by the lava flow or looted, the UN body said.
The eruption sent rivers of lava streaming down the hillside from Mount Nyiragongo, destroying hundreds of homes and forcing thousands to flee, but stopped 300 meters short of Goma airport.
Several cracks have appeared on the roads and have raised concerns among the local population. About 60 centimeters wide in some places, the cracks have caused panic among residents, unsure if the danger has passed.
"Yesterday it was very small, here it is just opposite my house, but today it has widened," a resident was quoted as saying. "It's scary. We fear it can collapse, and our children can fall in."
"It scares me because those who saw the 2002 eruption told us that where a crack passes, it will be catastrophic. Now, when we see a fissure after a recent eruption, I'm worried that we are in danger."
On Monday, the government officials who visited Goma announced several relief measures, including paying for victims’ funerals and psychological counseling, and emergency repairs of damaged infrastructure. Hundreds are sheltering in a Rwandan refugee camp, and many are continuing to flee.
Hundreds of children are feared missing or were separated from their families after Mount Nyiragongo erupted in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. pic.twitter.com/pb0nOprqDk