The following message was written by Fr Antonio Martinelli on behalf of the the Salesians of Don Bosco, who have been working in Goma for more than 20 years. The tragedy which has struck Goma is before the eyes of all. After ten years of war, refugee camps, political rivalry, economic exploitation, expropriation of the riches of the subsoil, and destructive epidemics, this catastrophic explosion of the volcano Nyiragongo comes as a sorrowful new addition. The inhabitants have had to flee from their own city, in order to find an escape from the fury of the lava. The population is pouring out, since the first instant, into the Rwanda territory; but the thought of reliving the experience of the harvested fields and of the privation of their liberty, of rebuilding their family and social lives, has turned them back in desperation towards the ruins of their own homes, now amidst the lava still emerging from Goma. We Salesians of Don Bosco, working in the region with young people for more than 20 years, request the international organizations and local authorities: 1. that the humanitarian help arrives wherever there are people most in need. 2. that a listening ear be given to those people and social and religious groups present in the territory, who are competent in the organizing help and assistance. 3. that an effort be made, by the United Nations, to supply the necessary requirements in order to carry forward this zone towards a stable and lasting peace. Our contribution as Salesians is focused on the promotion and education of young people. Under this aim we manage a Centre of Professional Formation (which welcomes about 400 young people) and a Centre for youth in difficulty, orphans and ex-child soldiers (nearly 750 of them) in the quarters of Ngangi. We feel the need to express our solidarity with those who are continuing to suffer, and request those in authority for a quick intervention. The Salesian Society and the Non Government Organization, VIS (Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo), assure the presence, the sustenance and the will to continue the education service, as far as the situation permits. Via della Pisana, 1111 00163 Roma Telefono 06 656121 Fax 06 65612709
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