Community of Sant'Egidio
Friends in the World

Goma - Eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano

03/09/2002
D.R.of Congo
Solidarity to the Victims of the Volcano: 
News from Goma and Bukavu

Two months after the volcano eruption, the situation in Goma is still tragic. The news about the Community’s aid: the School of Peace, the aid to the villages, the support to the centre for children who lost contact with their parents.

 

About two months after the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano, the situation of the city of Goma is still tragic.

The lava divided the city in two parts: the central part, the most important neighbourhoods, the cathedral, the hospital, the main schools, part of the airport have been submerged by near 5 meters lava, which is still hot - and it will probably not get cold before six months. 

The people has nearly all come back, even if the houses do not more stand up. Many peoples’ hope is that lava will make the soil more fertile. 

Even some members of the Community of Sant’Egidio of Goma have lost everything and, like many others, are put up by relatives and friends living in the small part of the city that has not been touched by the lava. 
Notwithstanding these difficulties, the aid campaign continues and is reaching hundreds of people.


The bell of the Cathedral 
which has been buried by the lava

Providing with clothes a village ...

More than 2 tons clothes, which arrived from the Communities of Belgium, have literally dressed again a whole village (about 600 people, whom we see in the photo on the day of the distribution).

This is a very poor village, 6 Km far from Goma, where the international aid can not arrive because of the civil war.


In Bukavu

In Ibanda, a neighbourhood on the shores of the lake, the ancient port of the city, a big school building stands, which was built by the Belgians.
On the day of the eruption, there took shlter the first people who fled with the boats crossing the lake.

They were 2.500 people at first. Many of them have gone back to their homes or found another settlement. There are still 680 people. They will probably spent a long period in this improvised structure: the lave has completely destroyed their homes, submerged their fields. They have nothing left. 
The centre is under the patronage of the Red Cross, which however sent there only nursing staff. The Community of Sant’Egidio of Bukavu, some of whose members are doctors or medicine students, managed to involve the University to grant the first aids to the people there.
To help to come back to normal life the children have been inegrated in the schools of the city. There are now about 250 children in the centre. 200 of them have entered a school and attend it regularly. Some 50, who could not enter a school, attend the Schools of Peace inside the centre. 
The School of Peace is not only a place for the children to study, but it is also an important occasion for the refugees, because it gives them the opportunity to speak, to solve real problem and sometimes just to be comforted by friendship.
The distribution of mattresses has been especially enjoyed by the refugees as it allowed them a more decent arrangement.


In Bagira, the children who lost contact with their parents

On the hill of the Bagira neighbourhood, there is UNICEF centre who welcomes the children who lost contact with their parents during the eruption.
It tries to find the families and to foster the contact. Here too the presence of the Community of Sant’Egidio has been precious: many could find their families. In the centre where there were about 400 children, there

Francesco Tedeschi

 

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