Rwanda: Residents still in panic Over Nyiragongo eruption

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

Picture showing stranded people in Goma after the eruption. Photo AP

Following DR Congo based Nyiragongo volcano eruption earlier on Saturday On 22 May 2021 panic still continues among the residents living near the volcano.

Barely a week after the eruption, earthquakes are still felt and continues to affect people and their belongings.  

Nyiragongo volcano is located in DR Congo’s Goma town that is at the border with Rwanda.

According to sources, 32 people have died in DR Congo as a result of the eruption and over 1000 homes were destroyed.

Residents in both sides are still in panic and unaware of what may happen to them as earthquakes continue to be felt, destroying their crops as well as weakening their homes.

“We are in panic, there are subsequent tremors being felt every now and then,” says a Jean Pierre Gasana, a resident in Gisenyi sector, Rubavu district.

“Most of the houses were partly destroyed and we are all living out of our houses fearing that they may be destroyed by earthquakes,” he adds.

Some schools were also closed while some institutions have vacated their employees waiting for the situation to normalize.

“The earthquakes are becoming more strong than before, we fear that more houses can be destroyed, we also fear for lives,” Charlotte Uwimana another mother of three also living in the area.

 According to data from Rwanda Seismic Monitor, earthquakes were mostly experienced in Rubavu District but there were also trembling in Kigali and the Eastern Province.  

In Rubavu town, a long fissure can be seen in the ground traversing residential houses, shops, and one road leading to the border with DR Congo.

According to official figures, at least 40 houses have been damaged by the earthquakes as of Tuesday 25th May 2021.

“We have talked with Rubavu District and agreed to rent houses for those families for two or three months; as the families look for ways to rehabilitate their houses,” Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi, the Minister of Local Government told journalists on Monday.

He added that people should be careful with any information circulating about the earthquakes and eruption

The successive earthquakes varied in magnitude. The Seismic Monitor said that the heaviest quake recorded so far happened Monday at 10:37 am, with magnitude 5.1. It originated from Lake Kivu.

This is the second time Nyiragongo volcano erupts over the past two decades as it last erupted in 2002 killing over 250 people.

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