The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Mount Nyiragongo has erupted for the first time in nearly two decades, sending lava sliding down the hillside towards the eastern city of Goma causing a mass exodus thousands of people to flee. Approximately 350,000 are dire need of humanitarian assistance. About 20,000 people homeless and at least 32 people dead, according to the United Nations.

People run during a moment of panic when the ground trembles briefly the morning after the Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted in Goma, Congo, May 23, 2021. After a night of chaos and panic, the threat from an erupting volcano to a major city in Congo appeared to recede on Sunday, MAY 23, 2021, when a river of boiling lava halted at the city’s northern edge. (FInbarr O’Reilly/The New York Times)

Approximately 450,000 people have fled Goma. Around 120,000 travelling 20 kilometers, most walked, to neighbouring town, Sake. Roughly 8,000 crossed the border into Rwanda. Affected people have lost everything are living hand to mouth. Most of the displaced are sheltered by host families, while others are living in overcrowded churches and schools. Food and water supplies are very low.

Houses and structures destroyed by volcano.

The evacuation order came after powerful aftershocks rocked the country on Tuesday morning, with tremors shaking the region every 10 to 15 minutes.

A little boy lost after residents fled Goma city.

Nyiragongo’s last eruption in 2002 killed 250 people and left 120,000 homeless in the DRC. It is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and is considered among the most dangerous.

Congolese fleeing from Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), sleep with their belongings on a street after the Nyiragongo volcano erupted near the border in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Picture: Simon Wohlfahrt / AFP

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