Caritas frontline workers respond to DRC volcano eruption

Caritas Goma Program Manager Jeannot Kassa provides an update on the Mt Nyiragongo emergency response

Thousands of displaced families in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remain in need of urgent humanitarian support following a volcanic eruption in May this year.

The Mount Nyiragongo eruption destroyed thousands of houses, displacing nearly 400,000 people and killing at least 32 people. The disaster has been particularly devastating for farming communities located near the volcano, whose crops were wiped out by the lava.

Caritas Goma in the DRC was one of the first agencies to respond to the disaster, distributing hygiene kits, clothing and other essential items to affected communities.

Members of the Hygiene Committee assist with cleaning up the camp site. Photo: Caritas Goma.
Members of the Hygiene Committee assist with cleaning up the camp site. Photo: Caritas Goma.

They also set up a Community Protection Center, including a Safe House and Child Friendly Space for children to heal from the trauma of displacement.

"We are carrying out community-based protection activities in close collaboration with the Community Child Protection Networks and teams from the Provincial Social Affairs Division,” says Jeannot Kassa, Caritas Goma Program Manager.

“We also do the identification, tracing and family reunification of children and vulnerable adults separated from their families during the volcanic eruption."

Through your support, Caritas Goma staff are currently on the ground responding to the urgent needs of affected communities though the following activities:

Distribution of kits of essential household items, including bedding and hygiene kits.

Building community resilience through disaster risk reduction and prevention (DRR) activities.

Promotion of hygiene and sanitation to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks

With the support of Caritas Goma, internally displaced people at the camp site have been trained as community hygiene promoters so that they can help reduce the spread of diseases such as cholera and COVID-19.

“As community hygiene promoters, we serve as a model by eliminating waste which can cause disease and epidemics in this camp for displaced people. I ask my brothers and sisters IDPs (internally displaced people) to really take care of hygiene and sanitation because the consequence of any neglect can be catastrophic both inside and outside the camps"

Kamala Joseph, member of the hygiene committee

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