DR Congo

UNICEF Democratic Republic of Congo Humanitarian Situation Report No. 05 (Volcano Eruption Goma): 2 - 6 June 2021

Situation Report
Originally published


Situation Overview

The sudden eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on the evening of 22 May 2021, led to two lava flows towards Kibumba park as well as Buhene and Kibati in the North-East of Goma, DRC. 32 people died as a direct result of the eruption (either burned by the lava or asphyxiated by fumes), including three children, while 40 have been reported missing, and 3,629 houses were burned. Seven schools, including five primary schools and two secondary schools) and 4 health centers have been destroyed by the volcanic eruption. While a renovation of the water supply has been undertaken, four neighborhoods out of twelve remain deprived of access to safe water, meaning that nearly 67,000 people still rely on water trucking in Goma.

The evacuation of ten eastern neighbourhoods of Goma city on 27 May led to the displacement of around 234,000 people in DRC. A partial return movement to Goma has been observed since 28 May with a particular high reduction in the number of people in displaced sites. On 7 June, the governor of North Kivu ordered the return of displaced population due to the volcanic eruption.

With the destruction of basic social services in the northeastern part of Goma city and the massive population movement in an already fragile context, humanitarian needs are still important and include:

  • WASH/Cholera: In the displaced sites, the situation remains of concern in terms of access to clean water and risk of cholera transmission. Despite the on-going water trucking and set up of chlorination points, from May 24 till May 30, 34 suspected cases of cholera have been reported in Sake, all of them unconfirmed in the laboratory except for one, a 1 year-old child living in Mahyutsa locality, which turned out to be a real case of cholera. This result confirms the active circulation of the disease, while 15 suspected cases have been notified till May 31, waiting to be confirmed by laboratory tests. In overall, Sake is experiencing a rise in the number of diarrhea cases, with two confirmed cases of Salmonella, with a 31% proportion of cases among children under 5 years old.

  • Child Protection and GBV (Gender-Based Violence): Despite the large number of children who became separated from their parents during the two displacement movements from Goma, the reunification process has been rapid, and as of June 4, 75% of Unaccompanied Children identified in North Kivu have been reunified. It is also important to note the great solidarity of the communities, spontaneous host families and community-based associations in the identification and reunification of children. The risk of GBV is increased by the extensive travel experienced by women and girls, as well as their presence in unfamiliar environments.

  • Health: The situation in health facilities remains precarious, with an influx of patients and a lack of medicines, despite government and NGOs donations.

  • Education: Since the Provincial Governor decided to keep all schools in Goma closed to mitigate the risks linked to a new volcanic eruption, all children in Goma still don’t have access to education. In addition, 12 schools will require partial or total reconstruction in neighborhoods affected by the floods in Goma. In the town of Sake, the continuity of education is made impossible by the presence of displaced persons in 13 schools, including ten elementary schools, affecting 7,739 students and 164 teachers. In Bukavu, 17 schools remain occupied by the displaced persons, while 59 schools are welcoming around 39,000 displaced children from Goma in South-Kivu.

Access: On 5 June, the Ministry of Transport, communication, and access ordered the reopening of Goma International airport to commercial air traffic. The Goma-Rutshuru road is re-established while traffic is back to normal on the Goma-Sake-Minova-Bukavu axis. The boat traffic resumed on Lake Kivu between Goma and Bukavu,