Caritas Meeting Volcano Victims´ Needs in Congo

GOMA, Congo, JAN. 28, 2002 ( In the wake of the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo, the Catholic group Caritas is supplying food to 14,000 people in this hard-hit city.

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Caritas expect that figure will double within the next few weeks. The volcano is no longer emitting lethal gases and lava, and residents are now returning to their homes.

A few hundred people remain in the Nkamira and Mudende camps, set up by the Rwandan government to shelter refugees.

Last Friday a convoy of six trucks, hired by Caritas-Germany and coming from Kampala, Uganda, arrived in Goma.

The trucks were laden with emergency goods, including thousands of liters of potable water, children´s clothing, 10,000 blankets, 5,000 sets of sheets, 5,000 lots of domestic utensils, 5,000 cutlery sets, and half a million water-purifying tablets. Another convoy arrived from Rwanda on Saturday.

According to Oswald Mussoni, director of Caritas-Goma, the food and emergency reserves donated by the World Food Program and UNICEF, and distributed by nongovernmental organizations, are sufficient to satisfy the needs of those affected for one month.

Mussoni is encouraging plans for the rehabilitation phase and short- and medium-term programs for reconstruction.

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