The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo killed at least 15 people, sent 30,000 people fleeing Goma and destroyed more than 500 homes.
Torrents of lava spilled into villages after dark in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with little warning, leaving at least 15 people dead amid the chaos and destroying more than 500 homes, officials and survivors said.
He eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on Saturday night it sent some 5,000 people fleeing the city of Goma to the nearby border to Rwanda, while another 25,000 people sought refuge northwest of Sake, the UN children’s agency said on Sunday .
More than 170 children were still feared missing on Sunday and UNICEF officials said they were organizing transit centers to help unaccompanied children after the disaster.
Goma was largely saved from the massive destruction it suffered the last time the volcano erupted in 2002. By then hundreds had died and more than 100,000 people were left homeless. But in the peripheral villages closest to the volcano, Sunday was marked by grief and uncertainty.
Beatrice Katungu, 47, said her husband and eight of her ten children were missing.
“I don’t know what happened and whether they were burned by the lava because the eruption occurred in the evening,” Katungu told Al Jazeera.
“Some people came home on Sunday morning, but unfortunately my family didn’t.”
The air remained thick with smoke from the many homes that caught fire.
Florence Rudasigara, another victim of the eruption, told Al Jazeera that no officers had yet come to help her.
“I am a widow. I don’t know where to go. May the government help us. We have not seen any officers come to sympathize with us. They have abandoned us, “Rudasigara said.” We will starve. “
Elsewhere, authorities said at least five more people had died in a truck accident while trying to evacuate Goma, but the extent of the loss in some of the hardest-hit communities had yet to be determined.
Residents said there were few warnings before the dark sky turned fiery red, sending people running for their lives in all directions. A woman gave birth and gave birth while fleeing the eruption in Rwanda, the national broadcaster said there.
The dium produced smoke from the lava mountains that burned in the Buhene area near the city.
“We have seen the loss of almost an entire neighborhood,” Innocent Bahala Shamavu told The Associated Press.
“All the houses in the Buhene neighborhood were burned and that is why we ask all the provincial authorities and authorities at the national level, as well as all the partners, all the people of good faith in the world, to come to the aid of this population. “.
Witnesses said the lava had also engulfed a road connecting Goma with the city of Beni. However, it appears that the airport was spared the same fate as in 2002 when lava flowed on the runways.
Goma is a regional hub for many humanitarian agencies in the region, as well as the UN peacekeeping mission.
Additional reports from Ezra Tsongo in Goma.