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Quake, volcano affected DRC nationals seek refuge in Rwanda


Author : Indo Asian News Service

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Kigali, May 27 (IANS) A total of 651 Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) nationals, who were affected by earthquakes following the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano, fled to Rwanda's border town of Rubavu, an official said.

They are seeking shelter and humanitarian assistance after their properties were destroyed by the series of earthquakes that occurred in the aftermath of the eruption, Xinhua news agency quoted Mayor of Rubavu district, Gilbert Habyarimana as saying on Wednesday.

He added that they were being accommodated in makeshift tents in Busasamana sector in Rubavu, where the Rwandan authorities are providing them with protection and humanitarian aid.

If the seismic activities continue in Goma city in the DRC, and other areas close to Mount Nyiragongo, more DRC nationals will be forced to flee to Rubavu, said Habyarimana.

At least 119 earthquakes were recorded on Monday in Goma, after the nearby Nyiragongo volcano erupted on May 22.

Business in Gisenyi town in Rubavu district has come to a standstill due to repeated earthquakes.

Some banks, schools, markets, hospitals and shops have temporarily closed, according to Habyarimana, adding that people in high-risk zones in Rubavu district have been evacuated to safe places within the district.

The district together with relevant authorities will hold a meeting to discuss the way forward, most especially in terms of providing the required humanitarian aid to affected people, said the official.

A fissure has developed across Rubavu town due to the earthquakes hitting the area, he cautioned the public.

Seismologist Tite Niyitegeka from Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board said such earthquakes are volcano tectonic earthquakes and are produced by vibrations generated by the movement of magma within the volcano.

At least 32 people have died in DRC due to the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo.

Goma is home to two active volcanoes -- Nyamulagira and Nyiragongo.

The last time a major Nyiragongo eruption occurred was in 2002, when about 250 people were killed and 120,000 others were left homeless.



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