Thousands still in urgent need, over a month after DRC's deadly volcano

Caritas Goma staff on the ground in the wake of the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo. Photo Credit – Lydie Kone Waridi, Caritas Goma

Over a month has passed since a volcano erupted, killing at least 32 people and displacing over 400,000 more in the Democratic Republic of Congo, yet hundreds of thousands of people remain in urgent need. 

The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, which lies about 10 kilometres from Goma in North Kivu province, also destroyed over 3600 houses, as well as schools, markets and water infrastructure.  

Three large water reservoirs which supply more than five districts of Goma with drinking water and an entire water piping system were severely damaged by lava. 

While volcanic activity has subsided, food, clean water, shelter and health care remain in short supply. There are also fears that a cholera outbreak or COVID-19 may spread quickly amongst displaced people - many of whom are staying in crowded evacuation centres, churches, schools, or the homes of local families. 

“We’re supporting those displaced by the volcano with essential household items, food and shelter,” says Caritas Australia’s Program Co-ordinator for Humanitarian Emergencies, Bernice Sarpong. “We’re working with local government and our partners on the ground, with a focus on getting people back into their homes as soon as possible and children re-united with their families.”  

With your support, Caritas Australia is working with our partners, Caritas Goma, Caritas Bukavu and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), to assess ongoing needs on the ground and to provide the following emergency assistance: 

  • Distribution of food, water and essential household items
  • Temporary shelters for 700 of the most vulnerable households
  • Facilitating access to health care for sick, pregnant or nursing mothers, elderly people and people living with disabilities
  • Construction of latrines and showers 

If you would like to help to support vulnerable communities in Africa, please donate to our Africa Regional Appeal or call 1800 024 413 to provide much needed support.