Rwanda, DRC plan joint evacuation plan around Mount Nyiragongo

Monday August 12 2019


The Nyiragongo volcano last erupted by surprise in January 2002, killing about 150 people and destroying more than 10 percent of Goma city. Photo | Cyril NDEGEYA 

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Emergency management ministry and the Democratic Republic of Congo government will jointly evacuate people around Nyiragongo Mountain to avert any disaster in the event there are volcanic eruptions.

Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano in the Virunga Mountains located in Goma, DRC, 18 kilometres from the border with Rwanda.

Director of Planning, Response and Recovery Unit Philippe Habinshuti said there have been discussions on a feasibility studies on how to contain the displacement of residents from across Goma City.

“We met experts from DR Congo in September last year, we exhausted all the necessities to meet the anticipated disastrous eruption of Nyiragongo,” he told Rwanda Today.

During the 1977 and 2002 eruptions, residents of Goma flocked Rubavu Town in Rwanda, leading to shortage of food.

“We have always been caught unawares and it becomes difficult for the country to find a place to host the displaced neighbors from Congo,” Mr Habinshuti noted.

About 600,000 people are expected to be displaced during an eruption for whom Rwanda has prepared 260 hectares of land in Rubavu for temporary shelters.

Among the concerns the parties discussed included soliciting funds for sustaining displace people for a month before they return to their homes after an eruption.

Rwanda committed Rwf16 billion and DR Congo is yet to come out with their commitment.

“We amicably came to the conclusion of a joint fund because it is a disaster affecting both countries,” he said explaining that, “the fund hasn’t delayed but the only reluctance is due to the fact that there are no indicators of an eruption at the moment.”