This work was led and produced by the Flowminder Foundation and Vodacom RDC.

Executive Summary

The Mount Nyiragongo (Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC) erupted on May 22, 2021. Although the time for emergency response has passed, the estimated scale of population movements suggests that recovery from this disaster and a return to normal may require significant efforts over the coming weeks and months.

Mobility analyses conducted by Flowminder and Vodacom RDC can help monitor the return to normal and provide essential information to support decisions related to where allocating resources for displaced people efficiently.

The difference between estimated inflows and outflows suggests that a large number of the displaced people had not yet returned to Goma by the 4th of June (the end of the period of analysis). Departures for each of the three major travel routes (from Goma to Bukavu, to Rutshuru-Butembo, and to Sake-Masisi) truly began only on May 27, the day of the evacuation of Goma. By June 4, no mass return to Goma is observed and subscribers presence is above the baseline period in Bukavu, Rutshuru, Butembo, and Sake and Masisi. This suggests that large numbers of displaced people had not yet returned to Goma.

Vulnerability to cholera outbreaks throughout the affected areas is a major public health concern despite several vaccination campaigns in 2019 and 2020. Other infectious diseases may also spread more widely than in the past and hence require closer monitoring. Over the coming weeks and months, mobility data can play a key role in this effort.

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