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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
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.