Cecile Kasoki, Programme Manager for ActionAid International DRC said:
“Nyiragongo is the most active volcano in the world. Local authorities estimate 40,000 people have been displaced by the latest eruption and 9,000 houses have been destroyed by the lava.
“ActionAid works in Nyiragongo territory, where many of the families we work with have been affected. Stone buildings have completely collapsed and people have lost their livelihoods, with livestock burnt alive.
“We do not yet know how many people have been killed or injured. ActionAid’s staff in Goma evacuated to safety on Saturday and we are now conducting a needs assessment to ascertain the damage done to communities living close to the lava.
“In 2019 ActionAid conducted research to assess the risk of the volcano erupting again soon. We printed a probability card on eruption, for the community to use is reducing the risk of possible disaster. We developed a contingency plan for the communities we work with, so that children at school, women working at the market and everyone at the hospital, would know exactly when and how to evacuate, when the volcano is active.
“Contingency plans are crucial for communities living on the frontlines of predictable disasters.
I evacuated my family personally having heard information from the UN. I could see the blazing light of the lava even though I live far away. I called the organization which monitors the volcano, but they told me to wait. I heard no official alerts or updates. In the end, I left and evacuated 15 KM from Goma, and came back this morning to visit the community where ActionAid works.”
ActionAid International in DRC is working on humanitarian responses including the Covid-19 pandemic, Ebola and work on a range of livelihoods programmes to improve nutrition. We support communities to access their human rights, child rights, land rights and we support education programmes.