Environment & Climate ChangeNews

#NyiragongoEruption: Weeks After Volcano In DR Congo, MSF Providing Humanitarian Services

Humanitarian crisis following the volcano eruption in DR Congo are mounting but Doctors Without Borders are assisting displaced persons with basic needs.

Nearly three weeks after the volcano eruption in Mount Nyiragongo,  Democratic Republic of Congo, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)  Doctors without Borders are providing water, sanitation, latrines, handwashing points, and showers where displaced people are settled across North and South Kivu provinces, including in Kirotshe health zone, Rutshuru, Sake, and Goma.

MSF staff installing water bladder for new water point: Photo credit: MSF North Kivu province, DRC.

MSF is currently providing free basic healthcare facilities in Goma and two provinces, supporting hospitals in Rutshuru, providing malnutrition screening, building tents to accommodate mobile clinics, reinforcing cholera observation and monitoring systems in four health centres with the joint effort of the Ministry of Health across various regions.

Out of the 400,000 people who left Goma, the capital of North Kivu province after the eruption, 234,000 are still displaced across different towns in North and South Kivu provinces. The MSF says in a publication that 60,000 people settled in Kirotshe health zone, while 77,000 people settled in Rutshuru.

Many people left their homes, farms, and livestock after the eruption. In Kirotshe health zone and in Rutshuru, many people are not able to access shelter, people sleep in churches, mosques, schools, and stadiums. People in the town of Sake lack basic amenities and difficulty in healthcare.  

“Most of us fled with nothing, without money,” says Magene David, one of the displaced settlers who went to Sake in search of shelter. “MSF provides us with water, and this helps us, but we have nothing to eat. We sleep outdoors, in the cold, with no blankets.”

HumAngle reported “Some 44 per cent of five million displaced people are in North Kivu and 33 per cent of the 3.2 million inhabitants are already in a very grave situation of food insecurity.”

“On the part of the DR Congo government, a delegation dispatched from Kinshasa arrived in Goma on Monday, May 24, and has been carrying out solidarity missions among the populations in Goma and evaluating the situation to map out humanitarian, health, and security responses adapted to the circumstances.

Not less than 200 children on the streets of Goma are receiving food, water, and sanitation items from MSF. Also, MSF is ensuring that HIV patients receive needed supplies of antiretroviral medications.

In Sake, 25 kilometers from Goma, 36,000 displaced people are settling which causes an additional pressure on the health care facilities and water supply. 

According to MSF, over 1,500 consultations have been carried out by MSF teams in five days and over 180,000 litres of water capacity has been installed: three trucks make eight to 10 trips per day to keep the water capacity filled.

MSF staff educating displaced people on cholera: Photo Credit: MSF DRC

Cholera, a waterborne disease, is an epidemic in the area and MSF health promotion staff are avoiding an outbreak by providing clean water, in the first four days, they have distributed 243,000 litres of water. Chlorination and latrines were also built to improve the water and sanitation in Sake and prevent the spread of the disease.  

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