Brethren Disaster Ministries working with Congolese Brethren for volcano response in DRC

A disaster relief response to the volcanic eruption that has affected the area around the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and around the city of Gisenyi, Rwanda, is planned by Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Brethren church members and congregations have been affected in both the DRC and Rwanda, with damage to homes and church buildings reported. Continuing damage is occurring from the earthquakes that followed on the volcanic explosion that took place May 22.

Media reported that at least 15 people died in the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, and that property damage has been reported in at least 17 surrounding villages and in Goma’s suburbs. The eruption “sent thousands fleeing from a city that was devastated by lava flows in 1977 and 2002,” reported the Washington Post. The area also has suffered from violence by armed militias and has seen Ebola outbreaks in recent years.

Roy Winter, executive director of the Church of the Brethren Service Ministries, is working on a Church of the Brethren disaster response with Congolese Brethren leader Ron Lubungo and Goma pastor Faraja Dieudonné. He also is reaching out to Etienne Nsanzimana, a leader in the Rwanda Church of the Brethren.

Mount Nyiragongo erupts near the city of Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo credit: Bill and Ann Clemmer and IMA World Health

Dieudonné is working on a plan for how many people the Goma church hopes to support and what type of support may be offered, Winter said. “Many in Goma have fled to Rwanda and the earthquakes that continue to happen are impacting Rwanda as well…. There is concern the earthquakes will lead to another fissure and lava flow, so this disaster is likely not over.” 

Lewis Ponga Umbe of the church in the DRC, reported to Global Mission co-executive directors Eric Miller and Ruoxia Li via email. He wrote that “it was a really horrific natural disaster. Some of our church members have lost their properties and homes. Many are displaced into neighboring villages. We pray that God may bring a quick comfort not only to our church members but also to all the population of the city.”

A grant to fund the work will be requested through the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). To support this grant financially, give at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/bdm.

Prayer support also is requested for Church of the Brethren members and congregations in the Goma and Gisenyi areas, and for all those affected in the DRC and Rwanda.

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