Mayor of Rwanda’s Rubavu district, which borders eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), called upon its residents to stay calm as over 3,500 Congolese sought refuge in the district due to the eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano.
“We are appealing for calm among Rwandan residents in Rubavu district. We are closely monitoring the situation, and we hope that the volcanic lava will not flow towards the Rwandan territory,” Rubavu Mayor Gilbert Habyarimana told Xinhua in a telephone interview after making the appeal to the public through local radio.
The Rubavu district authorities together with members of the Rwandan security were on standby to help the people in case the volcano lava flows to the Rwandan territory, he said.
Rwanda’s national contingency plan is in place to ensure safety and humanitarian services following the fleeing from the DRC, according to Rwandan authorities in charge of emergency management.
Those who fled from the eruption are being temporarily accommodated in schools and worship places, said Habyarimana on a separate occasion when briefing journalists.
Nyiragongo, which is nearby DRC city Goma and located about 17 km north of Rubavu, erupted on Saturday, 19 years after its last eruption that killed about 250 people and left 120,000 others homeless.