DR Congo’s Goma volcano: ‘I couldn’t save my sick husband from the lava’
(BBC) – Ernestine Kabuo returned home after fleeing the lava flow in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, to find that her husband had not survived.
The 68 year old was unable to carry her sick husband out of their house and she found him burnt to death, she told Reuters news agency.
At least 15 deaths have been confirmed following Saturday’s eruption of a nearby volcano, Mount Nyiragongo.
But the lava stopped short of the city’s built-up area.
This avoided the level of death and destruction witnessed in 2002. It did, however, hit the Buhene district, where Ms Kabuo’s home was.
“I said to myself: I can’t go alone, we’ve been married for the best and for the worst,” she told Reuters reflecting on what happened on Saturday.
“I went back to at least try to get him out but couldn’t. I ran away and he got burned inside. I don’t know what to do. I curse this day.”Other Goma residents, a city of 670,000 according to UN estimates, are searching for missing loved ones as the city, and the region, continues to experience earth tremors.
More than 170 children are feared to be missing and 150 others had been separated from their families, the UN’s children’s agency, Unicef, said, adding that centres would be set up to help unaccompanied minors.
Nine of the 15 recorded deaths were killed in a traffic accident as people fled.
Four others died as they tried to escape a prison while two were burned to death, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said on Sunday.
The lava stopped in the Buhene district, on the outskirts of Goma, burying hundreds of houses and even large buildings. Reconstruction efforts are likely to take months.
“All the houses in Buhene neighbourhood were burned,” Innocent Bahala Shamavu told the Associated Press news agency.
Rwandan authorities said more than 3,000 people had officially crossed from Goma. Some started to return on Sunday. Others went to higher ground to the west of the city.
Mount Nyiragongo is one of the world’s more active volcanoes but there were concerns that its activity had not been properly observed by the Goma Volcano Observatory, since the World Bank cut funding amid allegations of corruption.