DRC, a mother in a colorful dress, puts her arm around her son

Imamu* and her son Jolie* left everything behind at their home in Goma when they saw the sky illuminate with fire from the Nyiragongo volcano in the DRC.

Nyiragongo Volcano Erupts in the DRC: Facts, FAQs and How to Help

On May 22, lava flow from the sudden eruption of Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) destroyed homes, schools and vital infrastructure across the city of Goma, cutting off power and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of people.  

Under the threat of another eruption, tens of thousands of people have fled Goma once again. Children and families have been forced to neighboring towns and into Rwanda, where the situation on the border in Rubavu district is desperate.

Here's what you need to know about the volcano eruption in Goma, including the subsequent earthquakes, Save the Children's emergency response and how to help children impacted by the DRC volcano. 

What's happening with the DRC's Nyiragongo Volcano?

On May 22 around 6:00 pm, a volcanic eruption started from the Nyiragongo Volcano, north of Goma city in the DRC.

The lava flow initially moved towards the northeast, and then moved South and South East towards the city of Goma. The eruption came as a surprise causing a generalized panic amongst the population of the city of Goma and its surroundings.

Since the first eruption, the area has experienced a series of earthquakes and tremors. Communities as far away as the Rwandan capital of Kigali, 65 miles from the volcano, experienced the quake. 
“This disaster comes while the DRC is already home to one of the largest populations of displaced people in the world and the most on the African continent," said Edouard Niyonzima, Humanitarian Worker for Save the Children in Goma. "More than 5 million people are internally displaced, and this latest crisis is putting even more pressure on the already strained resources of the government and aid organizations.” 

How have children been impacted by the DRC volcano eruption?

The sudden eruption sent lava flowing into populated areas of Goma. Running for their lives, children and families fled with little more than the shirts on their backs. 
More than 5,000 people fled across the border into Rwanda with thousands more seeking safety in Sake, a town 16 miles northwest of Goma.
Nearly 1,000 children were separated from their families during the chaos. 
“We can see the situation in Goma district is getting worse," said Niyonzima. "Earthquakes are continuing in the region which is already reeling from destroyed homes, schools and infrastructure. Half a million people are without water, which raises the risk of a cholera outbreak.” 

How is Save the Children helping families and children impacted by the volcanic eruption in the DRC?

Save the Children has worked in the DRC for more than 25 years, including in Goma where we have a strong relationship with local communities, partner NGOs and officials.  

Currently, we are working with local partners to support the reunification of children with their families. 

“Our primary focus is the protection of all children," said Amavi Akpamagbo, Save the Children’s Country Director in DRC, "particularly through family tracing and reunification. Mental health and psychological support is a key component to offer to affected communities and children.”  


How can you help families and children impacted by the volcanic eruption in the DRC?

Your donation to the Children's Emergency Fund can help provide immediate relief to children and families in the DRC and around the world who have been impacted by disaster. Donate today.


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