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Analysis for Action assessment completed in The Democratic Republic of Congo for anticipated volcano eruption

  • by Amrina Rana
  • 03 Aug 18

Community group in Goma discussing preparedness for future volcanic eruptions. Author: Yves Ngunzi Kahashi

Blog Post

This article was first published on the 27th July 2018 on

"Anticipatory actions are required now before an expected disastrous eruption occurs in Goma town."

An Analysis for Action report and assessment on the level of preparedness of the communities surrounding the Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has just been published by Start Network members CAFOD and Christian Aid. The Analysis for Action grant (AA Grant) was funded by the Start Fund Crisis Anticipation Window.

The AA Grant allows Start members to implement an inter-agency analysis and planning process before raising an alert. The Grant is designed to help agencies better plan and prepare for forecasted crises.

Whilst assessing the level of preparedness for volcanic eruptions in the DRC, one local resident said:

"Trust with the government authorities must be re-established. The volcano observatory in Goma 'OVG' (Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma) must better monitor the state of the volcano and the population must be thoroughly sensitised to minimise stress and the other damage that the population knows can follow unpreparedness, which was the case in 2002."

The assessment, which took place in May 2018, was used to help answer the following questions:

  1. What is the actual level of preparedness for future volcanic eruptions?
  2. What measures are in place to save lives and property?
  3. Does the existing institution and legislative framework specify roles and responsibilities among actors?
  4. What is the level of knowledge of the hazard, the perception of the risk, the existing beliefs, and the community behaviour at the different alert phases of the volcano?
  5. What is the level of knowledge of the available alert systems and the attitudes to the existing protection measures?

The completed assessment concluded that given the current level of preparedness, an eruption would be disastrous and lead to significant loss of life, livelihoods and homes. Many risks are likely to be experienced including:

  • Chaotic self-evacuation or poorly coordinated evacuation
  • Premature return to the city after the volcanic eruption
  • Conflict between displaced and host populations during displacement
  • Increase in number of unaccompanied children and dispersed households
  • Deaths as a result of volcanic hazards, particularly amongst the vulnerable such as children, the elderly  and those living with disabilities
  • Significant  lossof goods and property, businesses, state services and civil society organisations
  • Beginning of corollary disasters, such as an outbreak of cholera

However, the availability of funds remains an issue. In applying for the Anticipatory Alert Grant for example, the key question remains of when is the correct window of opportunity to take advantage of early action in respect to a volcanic eruption?

A question not only for Nyrigongo, with its unique risk factors, but for many volcanically active areas which have similar hazards of high uncertainty with very short early warning periods such as storms and landslides.

Anticipatory actions are required now before an expected disastrous eruption occurs in Goma town. The Goma population will always remember the Start Fund initiative, if this analysis triggers a process of strengthening its capacity to prepare for future volcanic eruptions and for its resilience!

This article was first published on the 27th July 2018 on

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  • by Amrina Rana