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The Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 m (11,385 ft) in the Virunga Mountains, associated with the Albertine Rift. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, about 12 km (7.5 mi) north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. In this area are working the Pallottine Missionary Sisters and the Pallottine Fathers.

It was on 22nd May in the evening, when the Nyiragongo Volcano erupted. What people there are experiencing today is beyond human imagination!

Furthermore, this has happened again after nineteen years since the last eruption in 2002. It is very sad, looking what is happening in this area after the people had rebuilt their houses in the last lava and now many of them are again destroyed. The cry of people is very loud and alarming. Some are mourning their dear ones reported dead from the terrible accidents, others are scattered out of their families, and especially the children who are running away in different directions in the crowd without knowing where their parents are. The Pallottine Missionary Sisters in this place are still around, serving in the hospital and to the refugees who have come in the Community. We are with them but with tension and fear of anything that can happen to them. But praying together and encouraging each other make them to be strong.

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Volcanic ash is causing the respiratory diseases and people are dying with hunger. The other terrible fear of the population is raised by the earthquake which is destroying and still killing people in a sad manner. Now the Town of Goma is silent, no activities, people are crying day after day, no sleeping, no peace; we are only waiting for God’s mercy and compassion.

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We thank all people for the prayerful support. Let us continue to ask God’s protection to his people and consolation to those who lost their dear one and those who left their homes.

Lord, have mercy on your people and on the whole world.

Sr. Odile Mukandayisenga SAC