Fleeing Again: Congolese Fearing Volcano Seek Shelter In Rwanda
Faizan Hashmi 2 months ago Fri 28th May 2021 | 09:15 PM
Jean-Baptiste Kamandwa is exhausted and anxious: he has fled to Rwanda for the second time in days after the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, and cannot find his family
Gisenyi, Rwanda, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th May, 2021 ) :Jean-Baptiste Kamandwa is exhausted and anxious: he has fled to Rwanda for the second time in days after the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, and cannot find his family.
Like many he returned when the lava quickly halted -- but on Thursday joined a second wave of people pouring over the border as Congolese authorities ordered the evacuation of city of Goma over fears Mount Nyiragongo may erupt once again.
"On Sunday I went back home to see if they had returned but found only the debris of our destroyed house. I returned to Rwanda yesterday, spent a night at the stadium and looked everywhere but could not find my wife and two children." The Rugerero camp where Kamandwa will be staying is roughly 10 kilometres (six miles) from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where just on the other side, Nyiragongo looms over Goma.
Some 3,000 people are estimated to have arrived in the camp so far, a Rwandan government official told AFP on condition of anonymity, however counting is still underway.
A small makeshift clinic at the camp is tending to crying babies while the elderly rest on mats in the tent.
Suddenly, over 10 green military trucks pull up and more people spill out.
The camp is surrounded by policemen, one of whom told AFP that they were ordered to ensure that displaced people do not join the general population and spread any virus.
"Only those who want to go back to DRC can leave, and they are driven back to the border and allowed to leave," the policeman told AFP.
But this could change as more people come into the country.
"For now we don't know how the situation will evolve or for how long the refugees are going to stay in Rwanda but for now we have the required capacity for the initial response," Elise Laura Villechalane, external relations officer of UNHCR Rwanda told AFP.
- 'Sleepless nights' - Mount Nyiragongo last erupted in 2002, killing more than 100 people. The latest violent awakening of the volcano left 32 dead.
"We left primarily because we were scared ... because we don't know if these earthquakes will stop or if the mountain will vomit again." Rwanda's Rubavu district, which borders DRC, has also been seriously impacted by the eruption, with a spate of earthquakes rattling the area since Saturday.
Tremors have even been felt in the capital Kigali, some 90 kilometres (85 miles) away.
Some roads have been closed off due to huge cracks in the tarmac while over 1,200 houses have been destroyed.
Kamandwa fled the volcano during its last major eruption in 2002, and knows all too well the terror it can bring.
"It burnt one of my cousins to death. Now I am again running away and I don't know where my family is. I feel cursed," he said.