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DRC: One year after Mount Nyiragongo’s eruption, internally displaced decry neglect

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Democratic Republic Of Congo

It has now been a year since at least 2000 houses were destroyed and thousands of families displaced after theNyiragongo volcanic eruption, Goma, North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Today, many families in the area continue to live in deplorable conditions in the makeshift shelters.

Those who found refuge in a site set up in the courtyard of the Kayembe elementary school, in the territory of Nyiragongo near Goma Goma say they have been neglected and forgotten. 

They call on authorities in Kinshasa to intervene before the worst.

**"We had fled the volcano, all our houses were destroyed and we came here. We have just spent a year here suffering and we don't have anything to do"**Kavira Suzane, one of the displaced by the Nyiragongo volcano.

Another displaced person accused the authorities of not wanting to help. "They do not want to help us, we are suffering here, if they can help us with houses. In these shelters when it rains, we feel very bad. May the authorities come to our aid and especially give us our plots to build on" Kahindo Faida, displaced from Nyiragongo volcano

At least 500 families remain in one of the camps for the displaced from the Nyiragongo volcano. The conditions are precarious. One year later, they have still not been rehoused and NGOs that were providing food and basic necessities have ceased their activities.

**"We live a life of misery, we have no water, no assistance, the government only looks at us but no assistance. We live here but the children sometimes get sick, we have already recorded cases of smallpox, kwashiokor because people do not find what to eat.-**Jean Marie Kahangiro, displaced from a Nyiragongo volcano.

The Congolese government is concerned about the issue and promises to get involved as a matter of urgency. Guy Loando Mboyo is the Minister of State in charge of Land Management.

"The government of the Republic is sufficiently responsible, this issue will be addressed urgently and appropriate responses will be made in terms of humanitarian and health management.

Goma, the capital city of the North Kivu region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is home to around two million people. It has Mount Nyiragongo, an active volcano with the fastest-flowing lava in the world lying 15 kilometres to the north.

On 22 May 2021, Mount Nyiragongo spouted lava from cracks along its sides. More than 400,000 people were forced to flee their homes, at least 32 people died and thousands of children were separated from their parents.

The last time Mount Nyiragongo erupted prior to 2021 was in 2002 and the effects were catastrophic with than 140 people died, mostly from carbon dioxide suffocation, while hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and fled to neighbouring Rwanda.

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