Dear prayer partners,

During the evening of Saturday 22 May, a river of boiling lava erupted from an active volcano, Mount Nyiragongo, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), killing at least 32 people. According to the United Nations (UN), more than 20,000 people are homeless, and 40 are still missing. According to relief agencies, by morning, the lava flow had destroyed 17 communities in its path. The lava stopped just short of the city centre of Goma. Mount Nyiragongo’s last eruption, in 2002, killed 250 people and left 120,000 homeless.

After the first eruption, fear of a second eruption spurred the government to issue an evacuation order, causing 400,000 residents to flee their homes. On Sunday 30 May, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that those who are now displaced – after the volcanic eruption – are at risk of various diseases (including cholera), because they are exposed to the elements and are living in close proximity to each other. Many of the displaced are staying in churches, temples, mosques, and community centres.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the DRC hosts almost 524,000 refugees and 3,188 asylum-seekers (as of 31 January 2020) and are themselves a source of over 918,000 refugees and asylum-seekers hosted in other African countries (as of 29 February 2020). An estimated 5,01 million people were internally displaced (between Oct. 2017 and Sept. 2019), and this recent volcanic eruption has added to these numbers.

The DRC is home to over 89 million people, of which 91.6% profess to be Christian. An INcontext partner in East Africa has stressed that so much is happening in the DRC that we should not be “intentionally blind” to what is happening and should not overlook this incident. Our Congolese brothers and sisters are crying and hurting, and the global Church needs to be involved practically, and through prayer.

Please join us as we pray for the DRC.

“Prevailing prayer requires a tender, compassionate heart, a deep solicitude for the glory of God and the good of His people. Nehemiah wept and mourned.” (Arthur Wallis)