At least 15 people died when torrents of lava poured into villages after dark in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, destroying more than 500 homes, officials and survivors said on Sunday. The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on Saturday night sent about 5,000 people fleeing from the city of Goma across the nearby border into Rwanda, while another 25,000 others sought refuge to the north-west in Sake. More than 170 children were still feared missing and Unicef officials said they were organising transit centres to help unaccompanied children in the wake of the disaster. Goma ultimately was largely spared the mass destruction it suffered the last time the volcano erupted in 2002. Hundreds died then and more than 100,000 people were left homeless. But in outlying villages closer to the volcano, Sunday was marked by grief and uncertainty. Witnesses said lava had engulfed one highway connecting Goma with the city of Beni. However, the airport appeared to be spared the same fate as 2002 when lava flowed on to the runways.
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