Death toll from DRC volcano eruption reaches 32

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Kinshasa, May 25 (IANS) The death toll from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano located on the outskirts of Goma city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has increased to 32 and it likely to further rise, authorities said.

Among the victims, nine were burned to death when the lava hit their homes, and five died from inhaling smoke or toxic gas when walking across the cooling lava, Xinhua news agency quoted Joseph Makundi, head of civil protection of North Kivu province, as saying on Monday.

Another 14 people were killed in a truck rollover accident, while four other victims were prisoners trying to break the Munzenze central prison in Goma, capital of North Kivu, added the official.

A government delegation arrived in Goma on Monday to assess the situation and provide humanitarian, health and security services.

Although the lava flow has stopped short of Goma, seismic movements are still noticeable, causing cracks in local households.

Provincial authorities have urged residents of the red zone to follow orders and not to return to their homes.

Following the eruption on May 22, some 3,000 people fled Goma for neighbouring Rwanda, while others headed for villages surrounding the city.

Right after the volcano erupted, the electricity supply across much of the city was cut off.

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.