(CNN) — Fifteen people have died after a deadly volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday.
According to a statement by 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 of burns.
Muyaya expressed “the government’s compassion towards all those affected by the volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo.”
According to the statement, the Congolese government activated its Contingency Plan for Volcanoes after the volcano started erupting at 6 pm local time on Saturday. Local authorities organized the evacuations of residents, following two separate itineraries.
Those who fled went 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 broadcast to people through the local radio, “working normally” and allowing displaced people to “follow the evolution of the situation in real time.”
At 4 am local time on Sunday, the lava flow finally subsided before receding at the city gates of Goma, 1.2 km from the city.
In addition to the death toll, many people were injured in 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 engulfed by lava in the Butare and Buhene areas.”
Businesses in many areas have lost merchandise and goods, incidents of looting 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 following 24 hours, decided to appoint a government delegation to help the provincial authorities.
As of this Monday, the Government will evaluate 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.