Africa

Children in DRC at risk as thousands fear another eruption: NGO

Part of city of Goma has been evacuated since early Thursday

Rodrigue Forku   | 28.05.2021
Children in DRC at risk as thousands fear another eruption: NGO

YAOUNDE, Cameroon

As tens of thousands of people flee amid fears of another volcanic eruption in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, more children risk being separated from their families, an NGO said late Thursday.   

Save the Children said at least 243 children are still separated from their parents, with most of them in temporary family housing and transit centers following the deadly eruption of Mount Nyiragongo on May 22. 

"We can see the situation in Goma district is getting worse. Earthquakes are continuing in the region, which is already reeling from destroyed homes, schools and infrastructure. Half a million people are without water, which raises the risk of a cholera outbreak," said Edouard Niyonzima, a humanitarian worker for Save the Children in Goma.  

Part of the city of Goma has been evacuated since early Thursday. 

According to the military governor of North Kivu province, Lieut. Gen. Constant Ndima Kongba, scientists are warning of further volcanic eruptions on land and under Lake Kivu. 

"Our primary focus is the protection of all children, particularly through family tracing and reunification. Mental health and psychological support is a key component to offer to affected communities and children," said Amavi Akpamagbo, Save the Children's country director in the DRC.

The death toll from the latest volcano eruption in the DRC is at least 32, with the majority of people calcined by lava and asphyxiated by smoke. ​​​​​​​ 

At least 250 people were killed when Mount Nyiragongo erupted in 2002, while over 120,000 residents were left homeless as lava flowed into Goma.

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