OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - Volcanic activity Nyamulagira
26 February 2001
This report summarizes information received from the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator (UNRC) in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
1. Africa's most active volcano, Volcano Nyamulagira, located in Kivu province (DRC), 23 kilometres from Goma (1.408°S, 29.20°E; 3,058 m), started erupting on the night of 5 to 6 February 2001.
2. Detonations and seismic activities were noticed in nearby areas of Bashali, Bahunde and Bwito. Lava flew from three cones, flames rose 100 metres above the volcano and ash fell over an area of 20 to 30 square-kilometres around the volcano. Lava flowed down to South flank of the volcano, towards the National Park of Virunga. No human losses were reported, though there was material damage.
3. A five-person joint evaluation and needs assessment mission was sent to the affected region from 21 to 23 February, focussing their activities on two areas between Goma-Kitshanga and Goma-Kalungu. The mission was headed by the OCHA Goma Humanitarian Assistant accompanied by three representatives from governmental bodies and one from a public research institute.
4. The following damages were reported from observation in the areas of Goma-Kitshanga (villages of Kirolirwe, Burungu et Kitshanga) et Goma-Kalungu (Kalunga):
- Agriculture/lifestock: cultivated land burnt out by volcanic ash, (market-garden culture, banana plantations), as well as pasture areas, reducing quality and quantity of available animal fodder.
- Environment: the settling of volcanic ash on vegetal species in the area led to the destruction of many varieties of trees and an unusual fall of leaves. Water sources of the area have been polluted.
- Human and animals' health conditions: the cloud of volcanic ash has an impact on the nearby population's health causing respiratory problems, flu, strong headaches, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis as well as an increased number of miscarriage. Some of these were also noticed amongst cattle that ingested soiled grass.
5. There will be an urgent need of food, medicines and vegetable seeds for the after-eruption to support the affected population. The Joint Mission will quantify needs after an assessment mission to be carried out in the following days in other affected areas (Rutshuru, Masisi).
6. OCHA is in close contact with the Office of the UNRC in DRC and will revert with further information, as it becomes available.
7. This Situation Report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also available on the OCHA Internet Website at: http://www.reliefweb.int.
Telephone: +41-22-91712 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10
Desk Officers (OCHA Disaster Response
Branch): Mr. K. Wiersing /Ms. Y. Sawada/ Mr. M. Bonnel
Direct Tel. +41-22 917 2270/ +41-22-917 1768 / 1457
Press contact:Mr. Donato Kiniger-Passigli, direct Tel. +41-22-91726 53
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.