GOMA.- After a volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), thousands of people who fled Goma are now at risk of being infected with cholera.
400 000 people
According to The South African, 400 000 people were evacuated in fear that the Nyiragongo volcano will have a second eruption. The volcano started rumbling a week ago.
Magali Roudaut, head of Doctors without Borders (MSF) in DRC said that these areas are where cholera was already an endemic. “Obviously we fear a flare up of cholera. With these populations on the move it would be catastrophic,” she warned.
Sake, a place where MSF had been fighting cholera for years, is currently a place of refugee to those running from the volcano. The area has a population of 70 000, but it has now been increased with 100 000 to 180 000 people.
“You can imagine the difficulty of absorbing that influx,” she said. “The biggest problem is access to water, having enough drinkable water for these people is essential.”
Many of the refugee are staying in churches, mosques and community centres. “Many people are still sleeping outside even if the people of Sake have been very welcoming,” Thousands of children have also been seperated from their parents while fleeing the volcano.
MSF are distrubuting water by tanker trucks, but there is a dire need for food, shelter and medicine.
The lava of the first eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano has destroyed 4500 homes in Goma, affecting more than 20 000 people. Goma, a place that was wrecked by violence. Some is a legacy of two regional wars which ran from 1996 to 2003.