Displacement & MigrationNews

#NyiragongoEruption: Fake Displaced Persons Hijack Relief Materials

An investigation has commenced over the presence of fake displaced persons at the camps for Mount Nyiragongo volcanic eruption victims.

People displaced by the Mount Nyiragongo volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo have lamented the distribution of humanitarian assistance to persons pretending to be displaced.

According to the displaced persons, some rogue individuals have established fictitious lists of ‘displaced persons’ to whom they have been handing assistance to the exclusion of the real victims.

“We are surprised to notice that on the ground at distribution sites there are new lists that are being constituted and the rejection of the authentic lists. There is partiality in the distribution of assistance. Those who are receiving goods and materials sent by the government are not the real displaced persons but locals of Nyiragongo,” complained a group of displaced persons from the village of Rukoko.

“We call on the governor of the province to be involved and to constitute a coordination committee that would be in charge of the distribution of these goods in order to avoid the consequences that could arise because of this way of distributing assistance.” 

The chief of Kihisi, Jeremie Kavusa, confirmed that he has noticed the shortcomings in the distribution of aid materials.

“We do not want that anybody who is not affected, whose house was not burnt and whose land was not affected, be given goods intended for people who have lost their belongings,” Kavusa protested. 

“We want that when a Good Samaritan arrives, he should meet the real affected persons and not prefabricated affected individuals. We want that after identification, the real displaced persons meet and resolve their problems together.”

The allegation was reported on Thursday June 3, 2021, to David McLachlan-Karr, the Coordinator of Humanitarian Aid, during a press conference in Goma.

“We are here to help the Congolese people and we have put in place a system through which we have identified the viable partners with whom we can work. And we have a system of anti-fraud in place to ensure the utilization of funds to respond to the crises in the country,” McLachlan-Karr declared.

“I hope that we have put in place a very rigorous system which functions and I can assure you that the funds which we have received to respond to this crisis would be well utilized to help the Congolese men and women.”

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNCHA), at least 232,000 persons have been displaced from Goma and territories around Nyiragongo over risks linked to the Nyiragongo volcanic eruption of Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Some people fled to Kiwanja in the Rutshuru territory, others to Sake in the Masisi territory, also to Minova and Bukavu in South Kivu province, while others crossed the border to neighbouring Rwanda.

Some of the displaced persons have begun returning to their places of origin without waiting for the approval of the government.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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