Virunga Ranger and Family Nearly Perish in Early Morning Blaze


Ranger Vianney Harakandi and his family are lucky to be alive. A few days ago, they awoke to find their house engulfed in flames. The blaze started as a cooking fire in their neighbor’s kitchen and quickly spread to their house. Somehow they managed to escape the smoke and flames before it was too late. Tragically, their neighbors died in the fire.

Vianney first became a ranger in 1991 and in recent years has been working tirelessly to help Virunga rebuild tourism. As you might imagine, Vianney saved money for many years before he was able to build his family this home. Sadly, all that is left now are the lava rock walls. Vianney and his wife have three young sons and now find themselves with nothing but the clothes on their backs. If you would like to help this ranger family rebuild their life, please give whatever you can. For the rest of this week, donations will be channeled to the Harakandi family.


  1. Laura v Brummelen - Fallsjö April 24, 2015 Reply

    Life can be so unfair. So sad for the neighbours.
    I wish ranger Vianney Harakandi and his family all the strength and best of luck to rebuild their precious home. Best wishes from Laura

  2. Robyn Parker April 24, 2015 Reply

    So very sad that this tragedy happened to Ranger Vianney Harakandi and his family. I am also very sorry for the passing of his neighbors.
    I hope they may rebuild and move on from this.
    Wishing them all the best! Robyn, Rhiannon & Robert Parker

  3. ingeborgh jennen April 24, 2015 Reply

    I am so sorry for the rangers and his neighbors. I have given what I can to support him in rebuilding his house. Many small amounts, will make one big amount !

  4. Hugh Rattray April 24, 2015 Reply

    Your donation page is not working

  5. Debjeet Sen April 24, 2015 Reply

    Vianney is an amazing guy. Without his assistance and guidance, we would have never made it to Virunga. He is very responsive to emails and takes a personal interest in the safety and comfort of park guests. I will donate whatever I can and hope that folks reading this post will do so as well.

  6. Jean Bosco April 24, 2015 Reply

    Pole saana mon frère!
    C’est vraiment un coup dur que monsieur Vianey Harakandi vient de connaitre et cela necessiterait un soutien pour sa reconstruction.
    Un devoir à nous tous de la famille conservationniste pour l’intervention.

  7. Sheryl Mays April 24, 2015 Reply

    Just donated and chose the match with Google Earth. I did not see a place to note that the donation was to help Ranger Harakandi and his family. You mentioned all donations would go to assist the family this week so hoping this is the case. Wishing the family all the best as they rebuild.

  8. Leslie April 24, 2015 Reply

    I hope my small donation can help. Having lived in a number of places, I do know how hard it can be.

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  10. ms April 24, 2015 Reply

    All the Best for the ranger. You care for the park i care for you. Sent some funds for you and your family. Take care!

  11. Peter Arnott April 24, 2015 Reply

    i am sorry to hear what happened to Vianney and would like to help, approximately how much is required to replace the home and do we donate through the normal donation page on the website?

  12. Virginie April 25, 2015 Reply

    Vianney is a great guy I work with, he and his family deserve all we can do for them. Here in Virunga, we are a family and when one of us fall, we all fall … But let’s be positive, walls are just walls and if we give him a hand, he will be able to shelter his loving family once more. Vianney, we are all together at your side, you know that !
    Best from the lodge.

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    Robert Williams April 25, 2015 Reply

    Hi Peter, until the end of today donations will be directed toward helping the Harakandi family. It will likely take several thousand dollars to make them whole again. Any excess money from this effort will be put into the Fallen Rangers and Widows Fund. This fund provides ongoing support to the families of rangers killed or severely injured in the line of duty.

  14. stefanie April 25, 2015 Reply

    I hope the donations will amount to more than enough to help him rebuild it all. So very sorry this happened.

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