| 16°C Dublin

Terror in the sky Irish aid worker describes the panic as a volcano erupts in eastern Congo

We were admiring the beautiful red sky before we realised it was a volcanic eruption”, she said.

Close

Residents of the  area said many homes had caught fire as lava oozed into their neighborhood. (AP Photo/Clarice Butsapu)

Residents of the area said many homes had caught fire as lava oozed into their neighborhood. (AP Photo/Clarice Butsapu)

Residents of the area said many homes had caught fire as lava oozed into their neighborhood. (AP Photo/Clarice Butsapu)

An Irish aid worker has described the scenes of panic after a volcano erupted near the city of Goma in Congo.

Thousands of people have fled their homes after the eruption on Saturday night.

Irish native Alyssia Allen who was less than 20 km from the volcano at the time said the event caused chaos amongst locals trying to escape.

“Very quickly the roads were jammed with people carrying all their household belongings as they fled to higher ground or towards Rwanda to escape the lava”, Concern’s Emergency Programme Manager revealed.

“We were admiring the beautiful red sky before we realised it was a volcanic eruption”, she said.

Close

Alyssia Allen

Alyssia Allen

Alyssia Allen

“People’s sense of panic was fuelled by their memory of the widespread destruction and loss of life caused by the last major eruption in 2002,” added the Irish worker.

At least 15 people died in the eruption on Mount Nyiragongo and more than 500 homes have been destroyed said officials on Sunday.

The eruption left 5,000 people from the city of Goma fleeing their homes, while another 25,000 people sought refuge to the North-west in Sake, according to the Guardian.

Close

People  take selfies in front of lava from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, in Buhene, on the outskirts of Goma.

People take selfies in front of lava from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, in Buhene, on the outskirts of Goma.

People take selfies in front of lava from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, in Buhene, on the outskirts of Goma.

An initial assessment is underway in Goma and Rwanda to establish the level of damage and the needs of those who have fled their homes.

Ms Allen confirmed that Concern’s teams were in place to respond.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Russell Gates, Concern’s Country Director in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said: “All our Goma team are safe after a very difficult night.

“Our thoughts are with the people of North Kivu and we are already working on how we can support people who lost their homes, in collaboration with the wider humanitarian community and the government."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy