The sky turned red and lava scattered from the volcano on Saturday, causing thousands to flee the city of two million people just south. News reports indicate that as many as five died during the evacuation, and some homes were reported missing in North Goma.
UNICEF He said that more than 150 children have been separated from their families and that more than 170 are feared missing.
More than 5,000 people crossed the border into Rwanda from Goma, where slow lava spewed out and displaced at least 25,000 people in Saki, 25 kilometers northwest of Goma, the agency said.
“However, most people are slowly making their way home since the lava stopped flowing this morning,” according to the press release, citing concern that hundreds of people will return to find damaged homes, and the water and electricity supplies have been severely cut off.
UNICEF said it was not clear how many families were affected by the eruption. Dozens of children in the area near Goma airport have become homeless and destitute.
A UNICEF team has been deployed to the affected areas of Sake, Bohen, Kibati and Kibumba to provide a first-line response, which includes the installation of chlorination points in and around Sake district to reduce the spread of cholera.
The agency is working to strengthen surveillance for deadly waterborne diseases, especially in Goma itself, after the population has returned.
Two transit centers for unaccompanied and separated children are being established and are working closely with the Congolese authorities.
UNICEF said it will work with its partners to refer any cases of violence or abuse due to gender, to provide appropriate medical, psychological and social support.
Monusco ‘watching closely’
The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, In a tweet earlier on Sunday that helicopters from the mission made reconnaissance flights over the crater, including Sunday morning, and were “watching the situation closely.”
The last time the Nyiragongo erupted in 2002, more than 100,000 were left homeless and around 250 people were reportedly killed. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and the most dangerous volcanic eruption from a lava lake, and it resulted in more than 600 deaths in 1977.