(CNN) – Fifteen people died after a deadly volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Saturday.
According to a statement from the spokesman for the Ministry of Communication and Media, Patrick Muyaya, on Sunday 9 people died after a traffic accident, 4 prisoners died while trying to escape from Munzene prison and 2 people died from burns.
Muyaya expressed “the government’s compassion for all those affected by the volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo.”
According to the statement, the Congolese government activated its Volcano Contingency Plan after the volcano began to erupt at 6 pm local time on Saturday. Local authorities organized the evacuations of the residents, following two separate itineraries.
Those who fled headed east towards the town of Saké, 25 km from the affected city of Goma, or west towards neighboring Rwanda, which opened its border with the Congolese.
Messages were transmitted to the people via local radio, “functioning normally” and allowing displaced persons “to follow the evolution of the situation in real time”.
At 4 a.m. local time on Sunday, the lava flow finally subsided before reversing at the city gates of Goma, 1.2 km from the city.
In addition to the death toll, many people were injured by the disaster and 17 villages, including Buhene, Katoyi and Majengo, were affected by the lava flow, according to the statement.
Three health facilities, a school, a slaughterhouse and a water pipe in the region were affected.
“Many houses were consumed and eaten by lava in the Butare and Buhene areas.”
Businesses in many areas have lost merchandise and goods, looting incidents have been reported, and the main source of electricity in the city of Goma has been cut off.
The Congolese government, after meeting twice in the next 24 hours, decided to appoint a government delegation to assist the provincial authorities.
Starting this Monday, the Government will assess the situation in the hospitals where the wounded are treated and on the evacuation routes.
“The Government wants to assure our compatriots in North Kivu that everything possible will be done to provide them with the necessary help to face this natural disaster,” the statement concluded.