Ireland’s largest humanitarian organization provides clean water and other basic needs to thousands of families returning to an area devastated by recent volcanic eruption and earthquakes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on May 22, the earthquakes that followed and the risk of magma under Goma forced the massive evacuation of the city, which has around 2 million inhabitants, as the sky turned red and that rivers of lava flowed from the volcano.
As most of the population returned, thousands of homes and public buildings, as well as water and other infrastructure, were destroyed or damaged.
Concern Worldwide has responded to the disaster and is working to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases, such as cholera.
“We are rushing to support thousands of households affected by the eruption,” said Russell Gates, Concern country director in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“More than 200,000 people have lost access to water and it can take months for this to be restored, so it is essential that we do what we can.
“We are providing emergency relief by building latrines and water tanks, promoting hygiene practices and distributing essential items to people who do not have access to water and have lost their belongings. following the rash.
Concern is also building 37 toilets in schools and in a health center in the Turunga region of Goma. His team of aid workers are also providing essential items to the affected population, including hard jerry cans, buckets, blankets, sanitary napkins, soap, mattresses and kitchen utensils.
To further prevent the spread of water-borne diseases, in addition to the persistent serious threats of Ebola and COVID-19, Concern staff are providing hygiene advice to 17,000 people in a severely affected area.
Much of this response is funded by an emergency grant of € 117,000 from the Irish government’s overseas development program Irish Aid.
“Many of our employees live in Goma and lived on the lava path and were therefore also affected by having to relocate as a result of government orders,” Gates added.
“Once our team got to the safety of her and her family, they immediately turned to how they could help others and we are happy to be a part of the response to ensure we are supporting so many. people as possible. “
The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo was followed by a number of earthquakes, some as high as 5.0 on the Richter scale, which compounded the crisis.
As the magma moved beneath the city, there were also concerns that an eruption below nearby Lake Kivu could release suffocating clouds of gas into Goma.
Although the risk of this happening is currently considered low, the situation continues to be monitored by authorities.
A considerable number of buildings are still not safe for anyone to return to them and many people have lost their belongings or have since been forced to sell them for food.
The last major eruption of Mount Nyiragongo occurred in 2002, when more than 100 people were killed and 120,000 people were left homeless.
For more information, please contact Kevin Jenkinson on 086 358 2886 or email: [email protected].