Concern Over New Volcanic Activity In Goma, DRC

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…As Over 600,000 Residents Get Displaced

Residents displaced by volcanic activity in Goma, DRC

The global organisation of Mercy Corps has expressed concern about the escalating volcanic eruptions in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), even as it called for preparation to respond to a humanitarian catastrophe.

Over 600,000 residents have been displaced from their homes following the partial evacuation order in the early hours of Thursday, 27 May, caused by the escalating situation.

Mercy Corps’ strategic response manager for DRC, Barbara Bitton said: “There’s fear everywhere. Families are scrambling to get out of Goma any way they can. Over 600,000 people are already on the road with little or no belongings and another 1.5 million live in Goma but are not yet under an evacuation order.

“Tremors are happening every 15 to 20 minutes. As of yesterday, there have been over 300 aftershocks up to 5.2 on the Richter scale. Many buildings have collapsed due to poor quality construction. The sky is dark, as an ash cloud has covered the city. Layers of carbon dioxide and methane gas are trapped at the bottom of Lake Kivu following the earlier eruption. The emission of poisonous gas due to volcanic activity cannot be ruled out—this is an incredibly worrying scenario.

“Mercy Corps is preparing for what we anticipate could be a major emergency response. Based on our experience, we expect people’s most urgent needs to be food, shelter, and water and sanitation.”

A statement by Mercy Corps Africa media and communications manager, Grace Ndungu, said, last year, Mercy Corps reached 3.7 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, adding the organisation had been working in the DRC since 2007, empowering the most vulnerable Congolese people to overcome hardships and build resilience in the face of one of the world’s most urgent humanitarian crises.

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