IRC Rushes Aid To Goma's Displaced After Eruption
|In Goma, the IRC is providing clean drinking water to some 100,000 displaced Congolese every day. (Photo: IRC)|
The IRC provided clean drinking water and other vital services to tens of thousands of people displaced by the destructive January volcanic eruption in the eastern Congo city of Goma.
Of the some 400,000 Congolese who fled to Rwanda and outlying areas of Goma to escape the dangerous lava flows, the majority has returned, but many found their homes destroyed.
An IRC survey on January 23 found that 58 percent of households in Goma are hosting displaced people and that 27 percent of the city's inhabitants lost their homes. Some 20,000 Congolese remained in Rwanda and are receiving aid in refugee camps.
Assistance in Congo
The IRC has set up 15 water distribution sites in western and eastern Goma's providing about 6.5 liters of water per person each day for up to 100,000 people. Water has been brought in by boat and road and thousands form lines each day at the various collection points to fill containers. Citing the dangers of a cholera outbreak from drinking untreated water, the IRC's director of health policy, Les Roberts, says among those receiving water from the IRC, only 10 percent say they are still using polluted Lake Kivu as a secondary water source - as opposed to 40 percent last week.
The IRC is also distributing plastic sheeting for temporary shelter and hopes to soon begin assisting in efforts to reconstruct homes and other buildings that were burned.
Meanwhile, IRC healthcare staff have been relocated to the area to provide medicines and support for local clinics.
Aid in Rwanda
The IRC is overseeing water and sanitation at two camps near Gisenyi, where some 13,000 Congolese have taken refuge. This includes rehabilitating a water system at one camp and bringing in water bladders at the other, installing new water taps, constructing dozens of bathing stalls and latrines, and distributing firewood. An IRC health team was also sent to the camps for a health assessment.