At least 15 people died over the weekend after a volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) erupted, destroying more than 500 homes and 17 villages.
Mount Nyiragongo erupted on Saturday night, forcing approximately 8,000 people to flee from the city of Goma into neighboring Rwanda.
“This morning, after lava flows from Nyiragongo volcano have stopped, most of Congolese evacuated to Rubavu are returning back home. Rwanda received around 8000 people last night,” Rwanda’s Emergency Management Ministry wrote on Sunday.
The United Nations (U.N.) says that an additional 25,000 others sought refuge to the northwest in Sake. More than 170 children are feared to be missing while 150 others are currently from their families, Unicef said. They added that centers would be erected to help unaccompanied minors.
Officials said the lava flow had slowed by Sunday morning, stopping just a few hundred meters from Goma’s city limits.
“We’ve been extremely lucky that it was very brief,” Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist based in Goma, told Reuters. “From the little information we have, it was just the lava within the crater that came out, there was no additional lava from below.”
The volcano last erupted in 2002, killing 250 people and making 120,000 homeless.
Rwandans are now focused on rebuilding rebuilding the communities impacted by the eruption.
“We have seen the loss of almost an entire neighborhood,” said Innocent Bahala Shamavu per AP. “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.”