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DR Congo: Thousands stranded in bush after volcanic eruption


We are counting about 129,000 internally displaced people without shelter, water, food, health services

We are counting about 129,000 internally displaced people without shelter, water, food, health services

Source: SPICMA

The aftermath of the volcanic eruption near Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is in danger of becoming one of the world's forgotten disasters. The active volcano Mount Nyiragongo, just six miles from the city, erupted on May 22, spouting streams of lava which destroyed at least 3.600 homes and sent thousands fleeing into the jungle.

Church sources say there are still hundreds of thousands of people stranded in the bush, and still in the danger zone if there are further eruptions. Many of them are among the "less privileged … especially the sick, the old and the handicapped," according to Fr Dennis Dashong Pam.

They are "out there in nature … without shelter, no water, no food, no health services," he said.

"Some have started falling sick from malaria. We just hope there will be no outbreak of cholera. But for us to avoid it we need to act as fast as we can as much as we can."

Religious communities have already provided water tanks, and the "little food and medication we get," said Fr Dennis, assistant provincial superior of the Central Africa province of the Missionaries of Africa.

The bishop of Goma, the Rt Rev Willy Ngumbi Ngengele, has asked for help internationally and the UK-based Catholic charity SPICMA (Special Projects in Christian Missionary Areas) responded this week with an emergency appeal.

The charity, which is staffed entirely by volunteers, hopes to raise £20,000 which will be donated in full to the Goma victims.

For more information and to support SPICMA, please visit: www.spicma.org

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