Families displaced by volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo condemn lack of government support volcano news


The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has faced criticism for the growing humanitarian crisis in the eastern part of the country, as thousands of people fled Goma after the eruption of the volcano, lacking shelter, food and drinking water.

The Nyiragongo mountain erupted on May 22, causing lava to flow down the slopes, leaving traces of destruction and killing dozens of people.

Nearly 400,000 people in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, had to flee.

Many people fled to Rutshuru in the north and Minova in South Kivu, and as many as a quarter fled to Sake, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) northwest.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Médecins Sans Frontières) told AFP that 100,000 to 180,000 people have taken refuge in Sark, which has increased the lives of 70,000 people in the area. Cholera is a danger in the region’s efforts to absorb the impact.

Many people seeking asylum in the town of Sake complained that the government lacked support and stated that they wanted to return to their homes, even in the danger of continuing earthquakes and more volcanic eruptions.

“Life here is not easy. I have been ill for two days and no one wants to express my pain and let them take me back to my city.

“It’s better to die from a volcanic eruption here than from a famine [the town of] Sake,” she added.

The widow who escaped the volcanic eruption, 69-year-old Claudine Sinziyimana (Claudine Sinziyimana) [Esdras Tsongo/Al Jazeera]

President Felix Tshisekedi said on Saturday that the situation in Goma was “serious but still under control”.

He suggested that those who fled them did not return after a week of aftershocks.

Tshisekedi warned: “There may be underground lava flows anywhere in the city.”

He said: “The lava no longer exists in the crater, but the volcano is still active, so we must be vigilant, which is why we don’t want to hurry up by bringing back residents.”

A report issued by the Volcano Goma Observatory (OVG) on Saturday stated that 61 earthquakes have shaken the area in the past 24 hours.

After the outbreak, the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA said that more than 4,500 houses were destroyed by lava and about 20,000 people were affected.

Although many displaced people in Sark live in churches and community centers, many do not have any shelter at all.

“Our house was burned down by the volcano. We also lost business because of the volcano. We are spending the night in a house with 19 people with other displaced people.

“We are choked [feeling suffocated] Because there are many in a small house. If the government cannot give us food, at least give us a place to sleep here,” she added.

Clarice Matofali, the child on her back, husband and grandmother, after a family discussion about how to leave Sark [Esdras Tsongo/Al Jazeera]

MSF stated that they have deployed to solve the water shortage, supply and distribute water through tank trucks, but more are needed, and food, shelter and medicine are other major needs.

Magali Roudaut, the head of the MSF mission in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, told AFP: “This crisis requires assistance and immediate intervention.”

The Army said it is providing help to the area. However, many displaced people questioned why they did not receive any support from the government a week after the eruption.

“Since we left Goma, we have not had any help. We have difficulty eating. The specialty here is rice porridge. Our children will die of hunger.” Kabugho Malimingi said.

“I have seven children and two of them have diarrhea due to the water difference in the village. Let the government help us. Give us food or let us go home.” She said.

Kabugho Malimingi, left, a person displaced from a volcanic eruption [Esdras Tsongo/Al Jazeera]

International aid organizations have already existed in Goma. Dozens of armed groups have suffered 30 years of violent attacks and destroyed Goma. Many of these organizations are the product of two regional wars that occurred between 1996 and 2003.

In addition to the trial of the displaced, hundreds of children have been separated from their parents while fleeing. Humanitarian organizations are trying to resolve this situation.

Other reports by Esdras Tsongo in Sake.





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