Thousands of residents in Goma, a major city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, spent the night outdoors following eruption on Saturday, according to a spokesperson for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
Aline Bichikwebo and her baby managed to escape when the lava flow reached her village, but said both her mother and father were among those who perished. "People have been working over night under the rain trying to rescue the situation", Musango said. I ran away and he got burned inside. "We really don't know what to do".
The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, said he would "interrupt his stay in Europe to return home this Sunday to supervise the coordination of aid".
Some headed out of the southern end of Goma towards the nearby border post with Rwanda, while others headed west towards Sake, in the neighbouring Congolese region of Masisi.
"There are a lot of people on the road, a lot of cars, it's an escape", one man with his family in his auto said.
A person stands in front of lava from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, in Buhene, on the outskirts of Goma, Congo.
Overnight, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the region reported during a reconnaissance flight that the lava didn't appear to be flowing toward Goma, a city of almost 2 million on the edge of Lake Kivu.
But the molten earth flow did cross a main road out of the city, cutting it off from the north and leaving many people stranded as they tried to return to their homes and assess the damage.
Mr Peyre-Costa said a number of non-government organisations in the region believe Goma's population is closer to one million.
The Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 metres in the Virunga National Park, about 20 km north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu. "The volcano devastated all our homes and possessions", he said.
"We were eating when a friend of dad's called him on the phone and told him to go and look outside", said Mbulayi, who was still a child the last time the volcano erupted.
She also blamed authorities "for not informing us in time about the possible volcanic eruption".
The lack of immediate announcements from authorities and conflicting accounts circulating on social media only added to the sense of chaos in Goma.
Officials confirmed an eruption at Mount Nyiragongo.
Volcanologist Honore Chiraba of the Goma Volcano Observatory told CNN there are two fractures in the volcano.
The two volcanoes are located about 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) apart.
Witnesses said lava engulfed one highway connecting Goma with the city of Beni, but the airport appeared to be spared the same fate as in 2002 when lava flowed on to the runways.