Thousands of residents from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seeking refuge in Rwanda are on their way back home after lava flows from the Mount Nyiragongo volcano stopped, Rwanda’s Emergency Management Ministry said on Sunday.
“This morning, after lava flows from Nyiragongo volcano have stopped, most of Congolese evacuated to Rabavu are returning back home. Rwanda received around 8,000 people last night,” the ministry tweeted.
Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said that at least 15 people were killed while fleeing the threats of lava.
The DRC authorities have not yet released the assessed collateral damage caused by the eruption. Muyaya still urged residents to avoid non-essential activities while seismic activity in the area could still cause damage.
Right after the volcano burst into activity at around 7 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) on Saturday, the country’s eastern city of Goma, with a population of nearly 2 million, saw the night sky illuminated with orange flames. Electricity supply across much of the city was cut off.
The lava flows stopped on the outskirts of Goma at around 4 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), after destroying about 600 homes and flattening five schools, the Norwegian Refugee Council estimated.
Goma is home to two active volcanoes — Nyamulagira and Nyiragongo. Nyiragongo’s last major eruption in 2002 killed about 250 people and displaced thousands.