lava

Reuniting families and supporting vulnerable people affected by volcano eruption in DRC

On the morning of May 23, 2021, the day after Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted, leaving 35 people dead and 30,000 displaced, AVSI’s social workers found Jean Luc, 11 years old, wandering through the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with tears in his eyes.

“I don’t know, I got lost,” mumbled Jean Luc with a blank stare when the social worker asked where his parents were. “Last night, after the sky turned red, my parents grabbed my three little sisters and me, and we started running. There were too many people in the street. I fell down and never saw my family again.”

supporting vulnerable people affected by volcano eruption in DRC

On Monday, May 24, AVSI staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) began assessing the damage caused by the lava spewing from Mount Nyiragongo. On Saturday, May 22, the volcano erupted at night, bringing chaos and devastation to Goma, a city of two million people. Considered one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Nyiragongo had last erupted in 2002, killing several hundred people and leaving another approximately 100,000 homeless.
On Saturday night, the last eruption took place between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM, generating a flow of lava that took a considerable speed. Before midnight, it had reached the first inhabited centers and then hit the north of Goma.
Thousands of displaced people fled to Rwanda (according to the Rwandan authorities, 7,000 displaced Congolese have crossed the border) and to the town of Sake (an estimated 25,000 people). Still, other families have gone as far as Minova, a town located 50 kilometers from Goma.