Around 8,000 people crossed into Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to seek refuge following the eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano on Saturday, Rwanda’s Emergency Management Ministry said Sunday.
“This morning, after lava flows from Nyiragongo volcano have stopped, most of Congolese evacuated to Rubavu are returning back home. Rwanda received around 8000 people last night,” the ministry said on its official Twitter account.
Thousands of residents in Goma, a major city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, spent the night outdoors following the eruption, according to a spokesman for the Norwegian Refugee Council.
“There has not been a massive panic movement, but people are really worried,” said Tom Peyre-Costa, the council’s spokesman for the west and central Africa.
Some residents of nearby Goma left the city following the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on Saturday.Evacuees first walked towards Rwanda, Peyre-Costa told CNN. The border was closed, so they went back to Goma and headed to an area north of the city.
Peyre-Costa posted to Twitter video of people leaving the city” 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,” Peyre-Costa said.
The volcanic eruption seems to have subsided, according to the Goma Volcano Observatory, which monitors the volcano. Authorities in the city activated an evacuation plan as a precaution.
“We arrived quickly, we didn’t expect these kinds of things which just happened to us,” Theophile Tulinabo, a resident who fled his home after the eruption, told CNN in Buhene, a neighbourhood north of Goma. “And where are we going to live now? At the moment, we don’t know.”