On Saturday 22 May, Mount Nyiragongo erupted. Over the next few days, with the increasing intensity of tremors and fears for another eruption, half a million people left the city, with over 400,000 heading 25km west to the small town of Sake.

In Sake there was no provision clean drinking water, food, shelter or medical care. Many were forced to drink from the lake. There are numerous cases of cholera. The humanitarian response is now focused on Sake as everyone waits for the all clear to return to Goma. This has not yet been given as further volcanic activity cannot be ruled out for the moment.

In Goma, the diocese has been badly affected. Please give directly to the relief and rebuilding work being done by the diocese of Goma, by clicking here

Near the volcano, our parish of Kanyanja was completely destroyed – including the church, the school, houses and fields. Everyone fled to Rwanda, although many have now returned. In another northern parish, Buvira, the fields were ruined before the harvest and so there is little now to eat.

Towards the centre of town in Majengo, Ngangi and Buhene – one of our schools has collapsed, houses have been covered in lava – and the remaining church buildings and schools are providing shelter for those affected.

Where the cathedral and diocesan offices are located, the lava hasn’t yet caused damage here, but it did in the past and could do again, using the same underground channels. There are cracks in the diocesan offices due to the tremors but we don’t know how serious they are yet. We relocated our 25 theology students who live here to a parish on the outskirts of town along with several pastors and their families.

The diocesan staff who remain in Goma are using what means we have at our disposal to focus on those who are left, in the parishes that have been worst affected. To provide food, shelter, water, clothes and medical care. Below, potatoes from a diocesan project are being given to those who lost their homes in Buhene.

Then begins the much greater task of rebuilding – churches, schools, houses, lives.

If you or your church wants to give directly to the relief and rebuilding work being done by the diocese of Goma, please click here

If you want to give to Tearfund’s emergency response in Goma, click here

For a BBC update on Goma, see here and our blog update with photos here

From Martin, Anthea, Silas, Zachary and Imogen Gordon, (Short term CMS mission partners in Goma)