Disasters & Accidents

Death toll from DRC volcano rises to 32

Kinshasa, May 25 (EFE).- At least 32 people have died and 6,278 were injured after the Nyiragongo volcano in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo erupted, the Volcanological Observatory in Goma, a city about twenty kilometers from the volcano, confirmed to Efe on Tuesday.

Apart from four inmates who were shot dead while trying to escape from a prison amid the confusion and nine people who died in a traffic accident while attempting to leave the city, most of the deaths from Saturday’s eruption were due to the spewing hot lava or the suffocating gases released by the magma.

“The number of victims continues to rise and will continue to rise. We continue to investigate and we urge the population to be cautious and follow the directives issued by the authorities,” the volcanologist and scientific director of the Observatory, Celestin Kasereka Mahinda, told Efe by telephone.

Mahinda added that Goma — the capital of the province of North Kivu — is still experiencing seismic movements day and night and “we see cracks in the walls of the houses, the asphalt and roads are cut”. The tremors can also be felt in neighboring Rwanda.

In some areas on the outskirts of the city, the tremors have caused the ground to break open, releasing dense clouds of toxic gas that can cause asphyxiation.

In a statement, the Government informed late yesterday that “about twenty bodies will be handed over to their families for burial on Tuesday” while “the rest have not yet been identified”.

According to Unicef, a total of 17 localities on the outskirts of Goma have been affected by the magma.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at least 300 children were separated from their families during the eruption and some 550,000 people in the city have lost access to water.

The road linking Goma to the north of the province was also damaged by the magma, hampering transport of food and goods to the area from the city of Beni, also in North Kivu, where some 280,000 people displaced by the violence of armed groups in the region are dependent on humanitarian aid, the UN warned on Tuesday. EFE


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