Following the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 22 May 2021, hundreds of thousands of people fled the city of Goma. Although residents are starting to return, many families are unable to do so as their homes have been engulfed by lava or destroyed by violent earthquakes. Many are currently staying with host communities or in schools in Goma and will soon be transferred to temporary reception sites.
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is working at the Bujari public school to guarantee that the affected populations temporarily living there have safe access to water, sanitation and hygiene. “We are bringing clean drinking water and building showers, refuse pits and latrines. We are also rolling out an emergency hygiene initiative aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19”, says Justine Muzik Piquemal, regional manager for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She praises the teams’ determination, saying they “have not hesitated to work late into the evening so that the maximum number of people can get supplies”.
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is also expanding its actions to the temporary site that has just been set up next to the school by the affected people themselves. Other WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) operations are also planned for the near future for other displaced person sites near Goma.
Access to water, sanitation and hygiene is particularly important in the Democratic Republic of the Congo because the country has been facing outbreaks of cholera and other deadly water-borne diseases for decades. “In addition, while the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly spreading in the region, there is a pressing need to implement good sanitary conditions within these sites”, says Justine Muzik Piquemal.