“Hundreds of thousands” Still Needy after DR Congo’s Volcanic Eruption: Caritas Australia

Logo Caritas Australia/ Credit: Caritas Australia

The leadership of Caritas Australia, the development and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Church in the largest country in Oceania, has said hundreds of thousands of people are still in “urgent need” of assistance more than a month after Mt. Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) erupted.

“Over a month has passed since a volcano erupted, killing at least 32 people and displacing over 400,000 more in the Democratic Republic of Congo, yet hundreds of thousands of people remain in urgent need,” the leadership of Caritas Australia says in the Tuesday, July 6 report.

According to Caritas Australia officials, the aftermath of the eruption saw destruction of infrastructure in DRC’s Eastern city of Goma, which disconnected water supply.

“Three large water reservoirs, which supply more than five districts of Goma with drinking water and an entire water piping system, were severely damaged by lava,” they say and express fear that the people of God in the region risk contracting waterborne diseases. 

“There are also fears that a cholera outbreak or COVID-19 may spread quickly amongst displaced people; many of whom are staying in crowded evacuation centres, churches, schools, or the homes of local families,” they further say.   


The leadership of the Catholic entity says their officials have maintained presence at the volcano scene, assisting those who still need help to get back on their feet amid an acute shortage of basic human needs among the victims.

“We’re supporting those displaced by the volcano with essential household items, food and shelter,” Caritas Australia’s program Coordinator for humanitarian emergencies, Bernice Sarpong, has been quoted as saying in the July 6 report.

Mr. Sarpong adds that Caritas personnel are working with local authorities and other partners in the area “with a focus on getting people back into their homes as soon as possible and children reunited with their families.” 

Days after the volcanic eruption, Bishop Willy Ngumbi Ngengele of Goma Diocese appealed for humanitarian assistance for the hundreds of thousands who had been displaced following the May 22 volcanic eruption.

“We call on the government, members of the international community and people of goodwill to support our people moving in all directions as a result of threats of another eruption,” Bishop Willy told journalists May 29.

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