Jun 30, 2021 | By Philippe Kituka Lolonga | GOMA, Congo (UM News)

On May 22, the Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began erupting. Ten miles away, in Goma, more than 3,500 houses were destroyed, and volcanic lava decimated fields and animals. More than 450,000 people were evacuated. Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda of the East Congo Episcopal Area immediately appealed for help to survivors, who desperately needed food, medicine and water.

Thanks to financial support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief and Connexio, the mission network of the Switzerland Methodist Church, survivors received food and other necessities. In June, 500 displaced households received two rounds of assistance. With a solidarity grant from the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, $10,000 provided emergency aid to the displaced around Mujoga and Majengo.

Jean Paul Dietrich, a United Methodist Board of Global Ministries missionary and representative of Connexio Switzerland based in Lubumbashi, DRC, said the assistance benefits eastern DRC survivors. Connexio initially served the United Methodist faithful of Goma, who were in Bukavu, Sake and Rutshuru, with $5,000 worth of food and other necessities. Now the mission network is helping more than 200 households of the most vulnerable — especially pregnant women, older adults and individuals with disabilities — for an amount of $20,000.

“The beneficiary selection criteria were based on vulnerability,” said Michel Kizibisha, project manager in the Kivu Provisional Annual Conference. Read More