World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Thousands In Goma Evacuated Amid Fears Of Further Volcanic Eruption

The threat of new volcanic eruptions from Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have triggered thousands of residents to flee from the eastern city of Goma, the UN humanitarian office said on Friday.

Speaking at a UN news briefing in Geneva, JensLaerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that “thousands of residents from Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are displaced and on the move after an order from the authorities to evacuate areas that are at risk by further volcanic eruptions of MountNyiragongo”.

“The first eruption on 22May killed over 30 people and the Goma Volcanological Observatory has warned that the risk of a new eruption is real”, he added.

People 'moving in all directions’

Five days after the eruption, the Governor of North Kivu ordered people in ten districts of Goma – a city of some 670,000 inhabitants – to evacuate as a precautionary measure.

As strong tremors reached up to a 4.9 magnitude on the Richter scale, there are concerns that they could cause more lava to escape from the many cracks in the mountain.

“It is not known exactly how many have now left the city, but approximately 400,000 people are potentially affected by the evacuation order”, Mr. Laerke reported, adding that “large traffic jams were observed yesterday on the main exit roads from Goma, people are moving in all directions, mostly on foot, carrying what they can, but also in cars, and on boats”.

Wake of destruction

The first eruption of lava, ash and gas destroyed houses, schools and health structures, affected water and electricity supply systems and cut off roads.

Until now, the humanitarian focus has been on people directly affected by the volcanic eruption and neighbourhoods in Goma that are without access to water.

“This crisis is happening against the backdrop of a situation of already high needs in North Kivu”, explained the spokesperson.

“Forty-four per cent of the 5 million internally displaced persons in the DRC are in North Kivu, where also 33 per cent of the population is severely food insecure”.

Rippling affect

According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the Government of Rwanda is proactively caring for displaced Congolese people.

“As of yesterday evening, some 4,000 people have arrived from the DRC to Rwanda due to the volcanic activity and more are coming”, said BabarBaloch, UNHCR’s spokesperson.

“They are currently in two main locations:Rugerero, which hosts more than 3,000 people and Busa Sanana, which has nearly 700, 682”.

Before last weekend, Mount Nyiragongo's last major eruption was in 2002, which killed 250 people and left 120,000 homeless.

Its deadliest surge happened in 1977, when it took the lives of more than 600 people.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>

UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Scarce Goods: Isolating Daraa Al-Balad Threatens 40,000 With Starvation

The siege imposed by the Syrian government forces on Daraa al-Balad since June 24 would lead to serious humanitarian repercussions if it continues, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on July 15, calling for lifting the siege urgently and allowing the entry of basic humanitarian supplies... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Shaping The Future Of Food Systems: Thousands Commit To Dialogues Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 130 governments are making food systems a top priority amid the pandemic and committing to an unprecedented programme of Dialogues in the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>

UN: Next 18 Months Seen As Pivotal In Global Efforts To Achieve Key Goals

Next 18 months seen as pivotal in global efforts to reverse punishing pandemic impacts and boost actions to achieve key goals - Even as pandemic erases decades of gains in development, response efforts show signs of renewed global commitment to accelerate SDG progress... More>>