DR Congo: Volcano Nyiragongo - May 2021


Disaster description

On Saturday 22 May around 18.30 UTC, first news of an eruption of the Volcano Nyiragongo, situated in the north of the city of Goma in North Kivu province, started to appear on media websites. Effusive eruption was quickly confirmed, with reports of power cuts, people self-evacuating and crossing the border to Rwanda. The evacuation plan of the city of Goma was activated by the authorities very quickly. As of today (23/05), it seems that the situation has calmed down and people have been allowed to go back home even so, some seismic activities are still on-going and the potential threats caused by volcanic gas (SO2 and CO2) are not fully averted. A main road north of Goma (N2) has been cut by the lava flows and may have a significant impact on movements towards north. The extent of the damages are not yet known and are being assessed for the time-being. (ECHO, 23 May 2021)

The number of earthquakes detected in the area of Nyiragongo volcano and the deformation rates have decreased slightly since 29 May 2021. However, seismic activity and ground deformation continue to indicate the presence of magma under the urban area of Goma with an extension under Lake Kivu. An estimated 415,700 people have been displaced across several localities in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and across the border in Rwanda. Authorities and humanitarian organisations are providing help for those most affected. The rehabilitation of the damaged water supply system in Goma is ongoing. The risk of a cholera outbreak remains. Twelve suspected cholera cases were reported in the health centre of Saké between 27 and 29 May. Saké hosts more than 56,000 displaced persons and most suspected cholera cases are among them. (ECHO, 31 May 2021)

It was reported that 288,404 people in Nyiragongo Territory were affected, 32 reported deaths, including 13 people during the evacuation of the city, 14 people burned by the lava and 5 asphyxiated by gases. The DRC North Kivu Branch has received 540 requests for tracing missing children and 40 adults have been reported missing. 1,722 structures have been destroyed, but the number will continue to rise as assessments are completed, and 18km of road cut-off. (IFRC, 1 Jun 2021)

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