DR Congo

DR Congo: One month on, populations still affected by volcano eruption


Lausanne, June 22 2021 – One month after the Nyiragongo volcano eruption, north of Goma (DR Congo), the impact on displaced populations and host communities is still being felt. The eruption on May 22, which claimed the lives of at least 32 people and displaced around 400,000 more, has created urgent needs in and around the city.

Medair, an international emergency relief organisation, is responding to this ongoing crisis by providing assistance to affected people.

“On the surface, it may seem as if life is returning to normal,” said Zablon Omondi, Medair’s Project Coordinator in Goma. “In reality, the eruption and ensuing earthquakes and tremors have had a very destabilising effect on the entire region. The impact of this event will last for some time to come, as it occurred in an already fragile context.”

A 3-month emergency response was launched by Medair in Shasha (Kirotshe Health Zone), a community that suffers from persistent cholera outbreaks, and whose vulnerabilities have been increased by the arrival of thousands of displaced people.

“Families who still have homes standing in Goma are gradually returning," added Omondi. “But this does not mean there are no more displaced people. In Shasha alone, one month after the eruption, 3,000 people are still displaced. They fled their homes often on foot, bringing barely anything with them. Help is therefore needed to provide for their most basic needs.”

As part of Medair’s response in Shasha, primary healthcare, nutrition treatment for mothers and children, and water, sanitation and hygiene services are being offered to the displaced people as well as 18,000 people from the host community. A referral system has also been established to ensure care is urgently provided to at-risk pregnant women and children under 5 suffering from life-threatening diseases.

Medair is also preparing to conduct evaluations north of Goma, with the aim of launching a second emergency response among families whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed by the lava flow.

For media

Media enquiries should be directed to:

• In DR Congo:

Jonathan Kyle, Communications Manager (French, English)

+243 (0) 815 287 506 jonathan.kyle@medair.org

• In Switzerland:

Jean-Bernard Palthey, Director of Engagement (French, English)


Daniela Doenges, Press Officer (German, French, English)

+33 6 20 09 40 53 daniela.doenges@medair.org

In 2020, Medair provided humanitarian aid services to more than 1.6 million people in DR Congo. Our emergency health activities support clinics in rural areas including responding to population displacement and disease outbreaks with mass vaccination campaigns, treatment of acute malnutrition in children, and improving access to sanitation and safe water sources. Medair has been present in DR Congo since 1996.