A staff member for CARE in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Alice is one of tens of thousands who fled the city of Goma after Mount Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted on 22May – killing 31 people and leaving 20,000 more homeless.
“The volcano eruption was very sudden and abrupt. No one was prepared for it. We got the alert at around six in the evening and no one knew that it was coming.
“We decided the best course of action was to evacuate to the other end of Lake Kivu. The journey was long, frustrating and exhausting. There were thousands of people evacuating, so the traffic on the road was crazy. A journey that should have taken less than an hour took nearly 10 hours. Many people were travelling on foot, including those with disabilities and young children, so it was a very difficult experience.
“For the first time in my life, I felt that I was out of control. I felt that there were so many things that were out of my hands. But I had to stay strong for my family because I was travelling with my son who is eight months old.
“The experience was very traumatising. At some points we had to get out and walk along the road as the vehicle went over bridges. At one point my car broke down and it took more than six hours to repair. It broke down in a national park in the middle of the night. I was so frustrated and very scared, because that region is known to be very unstable and insecure. I was really panicking as I was waiting for another vehicle to come to pick us to get to a secure place.
“Thankfully we are now safe and out of danger.
“Travelling with a toddler was really difficult. I had milk and powder porridge for him, but I had to knock on doors to ask for hot water so that I could make his food and feed him. I felt as a mother that I was out of control. I felt that I couldn’t do anything for my son.
“Even now the experience is hard to erase from my memory. It will stay for a lifetime because it was not an easy one. I had to make decisions that were really hard, and in many ways, I was fortunate as some had to make the entire journey on foot.”
CARE is ready to respond with lifesaving support for those who lost everything in the eruption.
CARE uses these donations to provide emergency relief and services to those who need them most. This will help the world’s most vulnerable people prepare for, and recover from, emergencies and disasters.