An evacuee sifts through the ash that consumed his house after the volcanic eruption in Goma. Photo: Esdras Tsongo/Concern WorldwideAn evacuee sifts through the ash that consumed his house after the volcanic eruption in Goma. Photo: Esdras Tsongo/Concern WorldwideAn evacuee sifts through the ash that consumed his house after the volcanic eruption in Goma. Photo: Esdras Tsongo/Concern Worldwide

Our Work in Goma -- Six Months After the Volcanic Eruption

Our Work in Goma -- Six Months After the Volcanic Eruption

On 22nd of May 2021, the Nyiragongo volcano erupted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Situated only 10 kilometres from the city of Goma, the resulting lava flow destroyed homes, schools and basic infrastructure, leading to 30,000 people to flee within the night and a further 500,000 people to evacuate following the eruption.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Concern has been on the ground helping to distribute humanitarian support.

Goma, which had a population of 2 million people, saw 32 people tragically losing their lives and over 1,000 homes destroyed as a result of the eruption. Nearly 245,000 people were displaced from their homes wake of the damage and authorities announced the forced evacuation of 400,000 to safety.

Goma is located near Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Its 2002 eruption killed over 200 people and left nearly 120,000 people homeless.

Facing a severe humanitarian situation, Concern staff have spent the past four months assisting the communities in Goma, working to improve water, sanitation and hygiene.

What we’ve done in Goma

Concern staff have worked closely with six primary schools in Goma to promote good hygiene in the wake of the destruction of basic infrastructure. Some key achievements include:

  • Training 4,350 pupils, 113 teachers, 80 parents and 60 hygiene committee members on good hygiene practices.
  • Organising 24 competitions between schools
  • 22,000 people listened to hygiene promotion sessions broadcasted on a local radio (SAUTI YA INJILI)
  • 55 latrines, 5 garbage pits and 14 handwashing stations were constructed or rehabilitated
Concern staff and children walking over lava near Munigi and Mujoga, Goma. Photo: Concern Worldwide
On 22nd Mary 2021, Nyiragongo volcano situated 10km from Goma erupted. The lava flow destroyed numerous houses, schools and basic infrastructure. Following the eruption, earthquakes and volcanic activities led more than 200,000 people to flee Goma. Concern with funding from Irish aid (ERFS) is responding to urgent WASH needs in affected areas of Goma.

Challenges in delivering humanitarian support

Throughout our time working in Goma, we encountered several challenges. For example, during construction in Munigi and Kayembe, our teams had difficulty penetrating through layers of volcanic rocks. Even a bulldozer did not manage to dig a pit deep enough.

What we’ll do next

In the wake of the volcano in Goma, the community is still vulnerable. We’re working closely with other organisations such as the United Nations to expand our help to people who have lost their households and livelihoods due to the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano.

Plus, our upcoming work with the United Nations Pooled Fund will help us distribute NFI kits to more than 2,500 households who have lost their homes and property during the eruption.

Rubbish/garbage pit in Heri, DRC. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Irish Aid is supporting a WASH response in schools North of Goma, we are building & rehabilitating latrines, installing impluviums and handwashing stations, building garbage pits and conducting hygiene sensitization sessions
Latrine construction in Mujoga. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Latrine construction in Mujoga. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Paolo, Concern WASH advisor, on the left and Frederick Baraka, Concern Emergency WASH PM, on the right, in Munigi. Both of them are interviewing the school director to better understand their needs. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Paolo, Concern WASH advisor, on the left and Frederick Baraka, Concern Emergency WASH PM, on the right, in Munigi, DRC. Both of them are interviewing the school director to better understand their needs. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Amani, 12 years old, a child from the Buhene district in the north of Goma, collects the rubble after the volcanic eruption. Photo: Esdras Tsongo/Concern Worldwide

Your support will

  • Help provide life-saving clean water and essential needs to families.

  • Train communities on good hygiene practices

  • Help construct and rehabilitate latrines and sanitation facilities

  • Support the building of basic infrastructure

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