Three months after DR Congo volcano eruption, thousands seeking aid

Goma, DR Congo

More than three months after the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, thousands are still living in makeshift shelters and crying out for government help.

“My house was consumed by the lava. I have seven children and no food. We are suffering terribly,” said Furaha Mawazo, whose family is among the 4,000 being temporarily housed at a school compound in Kayembe just north of Goma, the capital of the troubled North Kivu province.

The “homes” consist of tarpaulins salvaged by the residents and lashed together by families still traumatized by the events of May 22 when the volcano eruption destroyed their homes.

The shelters are tiny. Josephine Kakuru Mayani, a widow in her 50s, lives in a tiny space that she shares with her large family at night.

An estimated 400,000 of the 600,000 residents of Goma left the city after the one-day eruption of Nyiragongo, a strato-volcano nearly 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) tall that straddles the East African Rift tectonic divide.

More than a quarter went to Sake, about 25 kilometres (16 miles) west of Goma. Over 30 people died from lava burns or asphyxiation, and in accidents during the panicked exodus from the eruption which destroyed hundreds of homes.—APP

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