Volcanic Eruption In Congo Leaves 15 Dead, 500 Homes Destroyed

Thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been left to pick up the pieces after a firey, volcanic explosion devastated the lakeside city of Goma. A sudden eruption at Mount Nyiragongo has left at least 15 people dead, 170 children missing and destroyed at least 500 homes. Adding to the destruction, several health centers and a school were destroyed in the catastrophic event. Not to mention, key electrical lines and water sources have been destroyed.

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi was visiting world leaders in Europe when the eruption occurred. He will reportedly cut his trip short and return to Congo to assess the damage.

“We have seen the loss of almost an entire neighborhood," local resident Innocent Bahala Shamavu told the Associated Press.

“All the houses in Buhene neighborhood were burned and that’s why we are asking all the provincial authorities and authorities at the national level as well as all the partners, all the people of good faith in the world, to come to the aid of this population.”

As the country continues to assess the damage, nearly 8,000 people have sought temporary refuge in Rwanda. The Rwandan Ministry in Charge of Emergency Management expects many of those people to return home once the recovery begins and lava flow stops.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this community has dealt with a major explosion at Mount Nyiragongo. It is widely considered one of the most dangerous and active volcanoes in the world. In 2002, the volcano erupted, leaving 250 people dead and 120,000 people homeless.

In the coming days, government officials will assess the damage further and develop a plan to rebuild the area. The United Nations Children's Fund will also work to reunite displaced children with their families.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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