We Are Safe

Hello Friends,

On the evening of Saturday, 22 May 2021, around 7:00 pm,  Mount Nyiragongo erupted. HEAL Africa Hospital was not effected by the lava.

Smoke and flames are seen at the Nyiragongo volcanic eruption from the Tchegera Island on Lake Kivu, near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo May 22, 2021. Picture taken May 22, 2021. REUTERS/Alex Miles

Along the streets of Goma, the smell of sulfur was evident. Then the sky turned red. Mount Nyiragongo suddenly erupted. Lava flowed towards Rwanda and into Goma’s city limits, a population of about 2 million people. By Sunday morning, the lava flow came to a halt, stopping approximately 2km from the airport. Reports indicate that the direction of the lava followed a similar pattern to that of the eruption in 2002 and 1977, towards the city center, where our hospital is situated.

While the hospital remained untouched, the community around us was not. The eruption left people in chaos and panic–not knowing what to do and where to go, in the midst of an evacuation order, the majority fleeing on foot. It left thousands displaced and thousands crossing the border into Rwanda. Five of HEAL Africa’s staff, who live near the airport, lost their homes. Staff who are able, are working away from the hospital and/or outside the building, per government mandate, as reports of tectonic activity continue.

We are are still waiting to learn more about the impact the eruption has had on the community. The death toll continues to rise and so does the number of people displaced. Thank you for the kind notes, prayers, concerns, and well-wishes. We know this situation hits close to home for many of you who came alongside us, during the eruption in 2002.  By God’s grace we were able to rebuild with your compassion and commitment to the work we do in DRC. We will keep you posted.

Some of you have asked how you can help. We are starting a relief fund to assist those who have been impacted by the volcano. Click on the DONATE button below. You can also help by sharing with your community, the work we do in Eastern Congo.

May we both be transformed in our partnership.

Your HEAL Africa Family

HEAL Africa Hospital after the 2002 eruption. Everything was lost, including patient records and a new, fully equipped, dental clinic. Credit: Lyn Lusi, HEAL Africa CoFounder, 2002
Credit: Bienfait Batundi, HEAL Africa Staff, 2021
Bienfait, HEAL Africa’s Communication Officer, headed near the airport on Sunday to give show us a little bit of the scene.