Emergency in Democratic Republic of the Congo. #CourageGoma

Date 31.05.2021

On Saturday, May 22, the Nyiragongo volcano awakened after twenty years and is bringing destruction to the nearby city of Goma.

Considered one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Nyiragongo had last erupted in 2002, killing several hundred people, leaving another approximately 100,000 homeless, and destroying 15% of Goma. A city of two million people, Goma is the capital of the Nord Kivu district and located only 20 kilometers from the volcano.

AVSI is launching an emergency appeal to help the population by distributing basic supplies and providing safe shelter.

Thanks to your donation, we will:

  • Create reception centers for displaced persons with:
    _ A focus on providing psychosocial support to children and reuniting unaccompanied minors with their families
    _ Emergency schools for children

  • Distribute basic supplies:
    _ Food
    _ Water
    _ School kits

The tragedy in numbers*

  • Three health centers and 12 schools destroyed

  • 4,500 families (20,000 people) lost their homes

  • 150 children were separated from their families, and 170 are missing (UNICEF)
  • 500,000 people do not have power or water. The risk of a new pandemic is high.

*Updated on May 27, 2021

What happened

On Saturday, May 22, Nyiragongo erupted around 7:00 PM, generating a flow of lava that traveled at a considerable speed, reaching the first inhabited centers north of Goma before midnight.

Thousands of people fled in the middle of the night to the town of Sake while other families have gone as far as Minova, a town located 50 kilometers from Goma. Around 7,000 people have crossed the border into Rwanda to find safety and refuge.

On Thursday, May 27, when the population was already returning to their homes, authorities issued an evacuation order warning that the Nyiragongo could erupt again. Tens of thousands of people are now trying to escape Goma.

The data from seismic activity indicates the presence of magma beneath the urban area of Goma and beneath the Kivu Lake. Because of this data, we cannot exclude another eruption on the earth or under the lake, and this could arrive without any warning

Military governor of North Kivu province, General Constant Ndima

AVSI’s action plan

AVSI has been at the forefront of this crisis since the beginning. On Monday, May 24, AVSI DRC staff visited the most affected areas to estimate damage and needs in the Ngangi and Ndosho neighborhoods.

On Wednesday, May 26, AVSI’s office and the house where some AVSI staff live, were both seriously damaged by the earthquakes following the eruption. The team relocated to a new location for safety. The AVSI office remains closed.

On Thursday, May 27, the international staff was transferred to the AVSI office in Kigali, Rwanda (160 kilometers from Goma). The Congolese team moved to the town of Sake, 20 kilometers west of Goma.

From Kigali and Sake, AVSI is already preparing an immediate intervention based on the most pressing needs:

  • Child protection: set up children’s psychosocial support centers. Identify unaccompanied children, reunify them with families when possible, or relocate them to temporary accommodations.
  • Education: distribute school kits and set up emergency schools to ensure education for displaced children and adolescents.
  • Set up reception centers in areas with a high concentration of displaced population.
  • Food: immediate distribution of food to meet the basic needs of those displaced.
  • Hygiene: supply water and distribute kits to guarantee hygiene and prevent the spread of disease.


Donate from Europe (fiscal benefits for European citizens)

Bank account at UNICREDIT SPA in the name of FONDAZIONE AVSI
IBAN: IT 22 T 02008 01603 000102945081
Swift code (BIC): UNCRITMM
Reason: “DR Congo Emergency”

Online donations (in Italian)

Donate from the USA (donations by USA tax payers to AVSI-USA -a 501 c 3 - are tax deductible)

​Online donations (AVSI-USA)

Donate With Satispay Grey

Press review