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Friday, March 24, 2017
Missionaries in dramatic escape from Goma volcano
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¬†Missionaries working in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been speaking about their narrow escape from the volcanic eruptions that have engulfed Goma. On Friday, Fr Danilo Lisjak, a Salesian priest, from Slovenia told the Missionary News Service: "I had 250 kids with me, but here in Gisenyi only 180 arrived. We don't know where the others are". Fr Danilo said, huge qualities of lava were pouring out of the Nyiragongo volcano as they ran away. He said: "It looked like the end of the world, the people were in panic and were running in every direction. There were queues of cars, trucks and any means of transport along the roads. We followed some residents that took a small path, while the lava was at least 500 metres from us and the heat was unbearable. The smoke was terrible and made it difficult to breathe." At one point, Fr Danilo said: " We came up to a wall that blocked our passage and we were forced to break down the wall to escape. Every now and then we turned around to look at the city. It was a terrible site, everything was burning and was wiped away. Practically all the schools and communities in Goma that the church had built were destroyed". Fr Danilo reached Gisenyi, in Rwanda, just over the border. He said he was hoping to take the children to the capital, Kigali, explaining that many refugees had already left Gisenyi, as it was being shaken by earthquakes and becoming covered in smoke and ashes. He said there was also no food or water there. On Saturday the head of the Don Bosco Centre of Goma, Salesian Don Mario Pťrez of Venezuela and his Spanish assistant Honorato Alonso were reported to have joined Fr Danilo's group in Gisenyi. They escaped the advancing lava with seven young people.
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