Experts from the Goma Volcanological Observatory (OVG) presented new data on the current situation of volcanic eruption of Nyiragongo during an assessment meeting chaired on Goma this Friday, May 28, 2021 by Governor Constant Ndima.
According to their report, the magma remains perceptible under urban grounds of Goma and has even spread under Lake Kivu. In addition, they reveal that the Nyiragongo crater widened further after the eruption of May 22.
In light of these elements, argues the OVG, it is likely that a new eruption will erupt either on land or under the lake with unforeseeable consequences, because it would show no signs.
Seismicity and soil deformation continue to indicate the presence of magma under the Goma area with an extension under Lake Kivu. The comparison of the radar images indicates that the crater of Nyiragongo continues to widen after the partial drainage of the lava lake. Based on this information, we still cannot rule out an eruption on land or under the lake, but it could happen with very little or no warning sign. The areas exposed by the risks associated with lava flows will depend on the output weight which is not predictable with precision for the moment.
After listening to experts from the Goma Volcanological Observatory, Governor Constant Ndima encouraged the ad hoc commission for monitoring and evaluating the damage linked to this eruption to work more in order to allow the authorities to take the necessary protective measures for civilians.
Several hundred people evacuated the city of Goma (North Kivu) following the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano on Saturday, May 22, as well as the seismic movements which resulted from it in the following days.
Civil protection estimates the number of civilians who took shelter at around 80,000 households, or nearly 400,000 inhabitants who went, some in Rutshuru, others in Rwanda, Bukavu or even Sake.
These data were delivered on Friday, May 28 during an emergency meeting to assess the current situation of the volcano, a meeting chaired by Governor Constant Ndima.
The provincial authority has issued an order so that these populations evacuated from high-risk neighbourhoods can benefit from adequate monitoring in terms of health and food.
“After listening to the experts, the governor distributed the tasks: the supply of drinking water to the evacuated populations, the administration of health care, the assistance in food and the monitoring of their movements”, indicated major Ndjike Kaiko Guillaume, spokesperson for the crisis committee.
Last Wednesday May 26 in the evening, after recurring earthquakes that shook Goma, the authorities asked the population of 10 high-risk neighbourhoods to evacuate the city.
Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, during the meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Friday, May 28, 2021, recalled that the eruption of Nyiragongo has no point of similarity with the previous eruptions in that it occurred without any warning signs.
This is what justifies, according to Sama Lukonde, the joint decision of the Government, with the local authorities, to evacuate the population to the areas which are not at risk.
The current situation of volcanic eruption of Nyiragongo
In the meantime, beyond the means that the Government has made available for the management of this crisis, the Prime Minister maintained that he had activated the Humanitarian Concertation Framework to better assess the needs and guide the assistance of the partners, reads one of the minutes of the Council of Ministers signed by government spokesman Patrick Muyaya.
“The Government was able, in record time, with the contribution of a few partners and civil society in Goma, to open the road section that links Goma to Rutshuru to ensure the supply of food and the movement of people. residents living in the red zone, “the prime minister said.
In the same order, funds were released for the rehabilitation of the Bushara site of REGIDESO which was damaged by the lava.
Finally, the Prime Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to continue monitoring, with the provincial authorities and experts from the Goma Volcanological Observatory, the evolution of the volcano’s behaviour.
In the meantime, the seismicity and the deformation of the ground observed so far indicate the presence of magma on the city of Goma with an extension on Lake Kivu. Therefore, the hypothesis of a new eruption on land or under the lake is not yet completely ruled out.
More than 10,000 displaced people from North Kivu have already arrived in South Kivu, fleeing a possible new eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano.
The announcement was made on Friday, May 28, 2021 by Théo Ngwabidje, governor of South Kivu during his visit to one of the sites set up in the city of Bukavu to accommodate the displaced.
“We are going to organise ourselves so that we find a viable site which meets the minimum conditions, therefore which has dormitories, kitchens, food and especially water to avoid water-borne diseases. Goma can stabilise within a short period of time and the displaced can return to their families, ”said Théo Ngwabidje.
Théo Ngwabidje underlined that 3 sites were chosen in the city of Bukavu. These are the Ndendere site, which already meets all the necessary conditions for the reception of displaced persons, the Funu site in Kadutu commune and the Nyakavogo site in Bagira commune.
He specified that among these displaced people already in South Kivu, 90% of them are in host families and the others are housed in sites chosen by the provincial government.
It should be remembered that the recent eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano occurred on Saturday, May 22, and caused around thirty deaths.
In response to the Nyiragongo eruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United States government has released, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an additional $ 400,000 to expand the first phase of emergency help.
USAID’s contribution, totalling $ 500,000 and made through the generous support of the American people, was awarded to UNICEF to provide people affected by the crisis with access to clean water and to focus on preventing cholera from spreading to affected areas.
“Access to safe water is an urgent need for the thousands of Congolese affected by this crisis,” said Marion Ekpuk, Chargée d’affaires at the United States Embassy, quoted by the United States Embassy in the DRC.
For Marion Ekpuk, with this additional support to humanitarian efforts, the United States continues to stand with the people and government of the DRC when they need it most as it assesses other opportunities for relief, contribute to humanitarian aid efforts and the rehabilitation of affected communities.
As a reminder, the eruption of Nyiragongo that occurred on May 22 destroyed several villages located north of Goma, in the province of North Kivu. Current estimates of the severity of the crisis indicate that the volcano killed 32 people, caused the disappearance of 40 others, destroyed more than 3,600 houses, 400 health and 6 schools.
Minister Julien Paluku Kahongya who is part of a delegation of 7 members of the Sama Lukonde government was instructed to stay in the city of Goma (North Kivu) to continue to monitor the situation linked to the volcanic eruption of Nyiragongo.
It emerged from a press release published this Saturday, May 29, 2021, that the former governor of North Kivu will work alongside Governor Constant Ndima to relay the information to the central government.
The Minister of Industry is, among other things, responsible for monitoring the actions already initiated as well as the implementation of the planned projects, in particular the questions of water, electricity and those related to the needs of the victims.
On instruction from the upper hierarchy, the Minister of Industry was called to extend his stay at the scene of the tragedy to act as a relay between the central and provincial governments as well as the experts from the Volcanological Observatory of Goma. The minister will therefore be on the front lines of events and will be able to reassure himself that all information is faithfully transmitted to the authorities in Kinshasa.
In the aftermath of the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano on Saturday, May 22, Kinshasa immediately delegated 7 ministers from the central government to come and work with the provincial authorities in favour of a response plan. But three days later, most of them returned to the capital.
During an emergency meeting held on Friday May 28 in Goma, the OVG indicated that a new eruption was not excluded, given the seismicity and the deformation of the ground which still testify to the presence of magma in the Goma area.
Meanwhile, war internally displaced persons, the number of which is estimated at more than 2,000, live in precarious conditions to this day, in several places in the territory of Mambasa in the province of Ituri.
These are people who fled the activities of armed groups in the Bangole group in the territory of Mambasa, others came from Irumu territory, still in Ituri province. There’re also a good number of displaced people from Beni in the province of North Kivu.
The situation that internally displaced people are going through in Mambasa territory is really alarming. There’re displaced people in several villages. Some from North Kivu and others from Ituri. Apart from Mambasa center where some displaced people live with host families-others on both axes including the Mambasa-Komanda axis and the Mambasa-Byakato axis where several displaced people even live under trees.
The activity of armed groups has caused a massive displacement of the population living in rural areas, where there has been a spiral of insecurity since 2017. The latest statistics show more than one million six hundred thousand displaced people. in Ituri province, the management of which remains problematic in the various sites scattered throughout the province.