Democratic Republic of the Congo
Mount Nyiragongo is a highly active volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Its eruption in 2002 caused widespread devastation.
Yet, much of the damage could have been prevented.
For over a week before Nyiragongo erupted, local people felt tremors and small earthquakes.
These are usually an early warning-sign of volcanic activity – but no action was taken.
Locals only took notice when plumes of ash and rock were seen billowing from the peak.
The Congolese people were not prepared for the eruption and lava flows quickly engulfed the area.
The city of Goma suffered some of the worst devastation.
With around 80% of its commercial infrastructure destroyed.
A densely populated area, more than 300,000 people had to be evacuated, and nearly 120,000 people were left homeless.
Many Congolese fled across the border to neighbouring Rwanda.
A fellow LEDC, or Less Economically Developed Country. And with no prior warning, the authorities struggled to cope, leaving many to sleep on the streets.
United Nations observers warned of a 'human catastrophe' with no shelter, electricity or running water for evacuees.
Later, as the lava began to cool, residents returned to Goma to protect their homes from looting.
With no emergency plan in place, rescuers had little support or tools to dig out the injured and the dead.
After a natural disaster, many LEDCs become reliant on aid from MEDCs, or more economically developed countries.
At the time of the Nyiragongo eruption, aid agencies were already in place in the east of the country, and so were able to respond quickly, providing shelter and food.
But they've been less successful in boosting the damaged local economy for the long-term.
Many international organisations and governments are reluctant to provide aid given the political instability across the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Without support from MEDCs and international aid agencies, LEDCs like the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain trapped by both the potential of natural disasters and their devastating reality.
They struggle to implement effective recovery or future prevention measures leaving them at greater risk.