More than 415,000 people have had to leave Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in the aftermath of the active Nyiragongo Volcano eruption that occurred in May, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.
“The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano has forced more than 415,000 people, nearly half of whom are children, to leave Goma, according to thousands of individual assessments carried out by the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix,” IOM said in a release.
IOM found that about 114,000 people have moved to Masisi, 77,000 have traveled to Rutshuru, and approximately 52,000 people have crossed the border into neighboring Rwanda.
It is estimated that about 47 percent of the displaced people are under 18 years of age while 58 percent are females, having fled mainly on foot but also by boat, vehicles, motorcycles, buses and trucks, the release added.
On May 22, the volcano, located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Goma and Lake Kivu on the DRC’s border with Rwanda, erupted, killing at least 30 people, according to the United Nations.
The last time a major Nyiragongo eruption occurred was in 2002, when around 250 people were killed and 120,000 were left without homes as lava flows destroyed about 20% of Goma.