Congo to begin phased return of residents to volcano-hit city

SAKE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - MAY 24: A woman who lost her home looks on after arriving in Sake in the aftermath of the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano in Goma on May 24, 2021 in Sake, Democratic Republic of Congo. Democratic Republic of Congo's Nyiragongo volcano erupted and reached the outskirts of the city of Goma overnight from Saturday to Sunday, causing casualties and damage. Locals have been warned of toxic fumes, as they return to salvage their belongings. (Photo by Guerchom Ndebo/Getty Images)

Democratic Republic of Congo will start a phased return of residents who fled Goma in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption that destroyed thousands of homes and threatened to overrun the city, the government said on Monday.

According to a report by Times LIVE, the government said it would provide buses and trucks beginning on Tuesday to help people return.

However, Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde told journalists that sites on the outskirts of Goma that were destroyed by the eruption could no longer be inhabited.

On Saturday, the government re-opened Goma’s airport, which is eastern Congo’s main hub for delivering aid to the strife-torn region.

People made homeless by the eruption would be temporarily rehoused and given assistance to rebuild, the government said in a statement.

Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, had last erupted in 2002, killing more 200 people and sending lava gushing through Goma. Last month’s eruption killed at least 31.

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