After the recent eruption of the Nyirangongo volcano, residents of Goma, the city most affected by this natural disaster, have fled to its outskirts (Bukavu, Sake and Rubavu, western district of Rwanda), waiting for a return to normal life. In order to understand the challenges faced by these disaster victims, AFRIK.COM has gathered the views of some of them who have settled in Sake.
Mrs. Kahambu, 45, fled the city of Goma five days after the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano. Settled in Sake, a village located 24 kilometres north-west of Goma, this mother of four children faces several challenges: « We have been here (Sake editor’s note) since. We don’t have anything to eat. So far we don’t have a toilet (…) », she said.
After the volcano, the military governor of North Kivu province, Constant Ndima, and scientists called on the inhabitants of Goma to evacuate following a possible eruption of the volcano underground and under the lake. « We have left our homes because of the earthquakes and the risk of another eruption (…) We don’t have enough food to last for more than a week, » said Baguma, who wants to return to his home, despite the threats still hanging over the city of Goma.
Read: DRC: Goma between worry and resilience
« Weak assistance
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the village of Sake has hosted more than 180,000 displaced people from Goma, following the government’s decision to evacuate people from high-risk areas. However, like Kahambu, many of those affected are desperate for assistance. « We have no water so far. We are waiting for assistance from the government and other people of goodwill, » says Patient, 25. After the evacuation of the city of Goma, the United Nations Mission for the Stability of Congo (MONUSCO) provided water tanks and food to the displaced. « We had received a few litres of water from MONUSCO, but it was not enough for the number of people affected, » says Fataki.
In this village, many disaster victims are living on the edge, as Alika testifies: « The day before yesterday, we slept under the stars without food. Originally from Kisangani, a town north of Goma, Shadrack joins other young people who have no family there. « We are studying at the ULPGL (Université Libre des Pays des Grands Lacs), we come from the Ituri province. Since we don’t have any family here, we stick together, despite the uncertainty, » says this student, a member of the Ituri student community in Goma.
Cases of cholera
As a result of the poor sanitary conditions, six cases of cholera were reported on Sunday by local officials among the displaced in this area. According to the same sources, these cholera cases are being treated by the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team in the Saké health centre.
Faced with the humanitarian emergency, the Congolese authorities and their partners are mobilising to help these victims. This Sunday, the Ministry of Communication and Media announced that the government has brought « food, non-food items and drinking water to the victims installed in sites, including Sake.