The volcano eruption is still going on in Goma, Congo. Sant'Egidio offers protection to displaced peopleAfricaCongoHumanitarian emergencies
Goma was thrown into panic on Saturday 22nd May evening as Mount Nyiragongo, which is one of the world's most active and dangerous volcanoes, erupted, Its last eruption devastated the city in 2002, causing hundreds of victims. The Community of Sant'Egidio - present in Goma since 2000 - vividly remembers those terrible moments.
To date the lava flow has not reached the city. It has stopped in the farthest villages and has lost intensity. Aline Minani, responsible for the Community in Congo, has written to us:
"Now the lava flow seems to have stopped, but since Sunday seismic activity has been increasing with continuing tremors. Authorities have invited people not to panic and to evacuate. So everyone is worried and uncertain. Schools and all other activities have been closed. Over the night between Saturday and Sunday, an estimated 3,500 people fled the city, many towards the neighbouring Rwanda. Some others headed southwards on the road bordering Lake Kivu to Sake and Bukavu.
There are many children among the displaced and also about a hundred of the School of Peace children are missing. Some families of the community, especially from the outskirts of Ngangi, have also had to leave their homes.
The Community immediately responded to help the victims of this catastrophe: an emergency centre was set up in the community house last Sunday to provide food for the poorest and to receive reports of missing persons.
We felt the prayers of the whole community very deeply this Pentecost, and we were also moved by Pope Francis' appeal. We thank the mother community and all those from all over the world who are expressing their closeness and solidarity, making us feel privileged to be a family with no borders.