Earthquakes rocked the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Monday (24), frightening residents who began returning to their homes after a volcano erupted on Saturday (22) and left thousands homeless and at least 32 dead, according to North Kivu province civil defense chief Joseph Makundi told Reuters news agency.
Of the victims, nine were involved in a traffic accident during the escape and four were prisoners from a prison trying to escape, while others were burned to death from inhaling smoke or suffocated by volcanic gases.
One of the most active and dangerous volcanoes in the world, Mount Nyiragongo suddenly erupted on Saturday afternoon, taking authorities and residents by surprise and pouring lava hundreds of meters towards the city of 2 million. inhabitants. The death toll is expected to rise dramatically – Unicef estimates 170 children are among the missing.
According to experts, the tremors are caused by the alignment of tectonic plates, and the risk of a second eruption is low. However, the authorities have asked the population to be vigilant.
Numerous since Sunday, the earthquakes continued throughout Sunday evening and Monday morning, some with great intensity. According to witnesses interviewed by the Reuters news agency, they occur every half hour on average.
Part of the population, who had already returned home after the eruption, left the city again and multi-storey buildings were abandoned. Reopened this Monday morning, many stores closed after the tremors. The schools were not functioning and asked the students to stay at home.
Authorities reported that 17 villages were affected by the eruption and that the material damage was extensive. Two rivers of lava flowed from the volcano and one reached the outskirts of Goma, where it stopped on Sunday morning. A major road in the area was also affected and many houses were swallowed up. The last eruption of Nyiragongo took place in January 2002 and killed around 100 people.
On Monday, the rock lava was still hot and smoking in places. Dozens of people approached the site, some at risk of inhaling toxic fluids. Many residents have fled to the border with Rwanda, south of Goma, or to the southwest, in the Masisi region.
A delegation of eight ministers arrived in the region to oversee the reconstruction.