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Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park, Africa’s most biodiverse protected area, exists to protect 1/3 of the world’s wild mountain gorillas, over one thousand species of mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian, and provide a brighter future to more than four million people affected by conflict.

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Member since October 2020

Latest News

Mount Nyiragongo erupts for the first time since 2002

Mount Nyiragongo erupts for the first time since 2002

On the evening of Saturday 22nd May, Mount Nyiragongo, an active stratovolcano located (near) in the southern sector of Virunga National Park, erupted for the first time since 2002.

The eruption caused a large fissure to open up on the northeast flank of the volcano, leading to a massive lava flow to the east into the park as well as to the southeast towards Goma, a city with a population of almost 2 million men, women and children.

The lava flow destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses to the north of Goma and severed most of the working power lines into the city, resulting in massive black-outs in an already panic-stricken and vulnerable area.

Virunga supplies more than 70% of Goma’s power, not only electrifying tens of thousands of homes and businesses but also enabling critical water stations on Lake Kivu to function for over a million people. With the loss of power to these pumping stations, this essential and life preserving service has been entirely disrupted.

As well as ongoing distress over continued aftershocks and further eruptions, Cholera and COVID-19 are also serious and life threatening concerns. In the city of Goma, water and power cuts have shown to drastically reduce living standards, throwing millions of lives into peril. Hospitals in Goma have also been affected, as Virunga’s power lines supply energy to four major hospitals in the area, effectively limiting their ability to deal with serious injuries and casualties.

Although there is a family of chimpanzees that resides on the eastern flank of the volcano, the park believes they were likely able to escape along with the other wildlife that inhabit the volcano’s forested slopes.

The region of eastern Congo is one of the most vulnerable areas on the continent. Decades of war have led to extreme poverty. Already limited resources are under enormous strain and the people of Goma and the surrounding area are in need of urgent assistance.