Around 3pm, seismographs in Rwanda recorded more tremors. Authorities warned that the Nyiragongo volcano could erupt again at any moment. After yesterday’s eruption, the largest in 19 years, the lava stream reached Goma, stopping just short of the airport and cutting off the road north leading to our hospital in Ntamugenga.
“People say they prefer war over volcanoes. It’s more predictable and you at least know when and where to run,” sister Agnieszka, in charge of the hospital in Ntamugenga, explains. She continued: “We didn’t sleep all night. We’re still in touch with friends from Goma. There are hundreds of families on both sides of the road torn apart by lava. One of our nurses is stuck in Goma and we’re not sure when he will be able to return. It also won’t be possible for the oncologist who had been giving our patients chemotherapy to come back anytime soon.”
It’s really unfathomable just how often tragedy strikes in this part of the world. The region has already experienced war, violent crime, cholera and ebola epidemics – and now a volcano eruption. The lava could reach the airport and nearby gas reservoirs. Authorities have ordered evacuation. Some have crossed the border into Rwanda but many don’t want to leave their houses behind out of fear that they will be plundered if left alone.
Over the next few days, sister Agnieszka will work out how to get supplies to the hospital without passing through Goma in case the road remains inaccessible for weeks. If that happens, the hospital is bound to run out of all necessities: fuel, rice, medicine, bandages and therapeutic milk for children at the feeding center, whom we are seeing more and more of. As soon as we have a plan, we will let you know how you can help. An alternative to shopping in Goma is crossing the border with Uganda. That would, however, significantly increase our costs.
You can support our hospital by visiting Goodworks24 and helping us raise funds for feeding our youngest patients.