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UN brings food to 10,000 families in Congo town devastated by volcano

UN brings food to 10,000 families in Congo town devastated by volcano

Displaced receive food aid
The United Nations today began food distribution to thousands of families in Goma affected by last week’s eruption of a volcano in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

One week's worth of food supplies was to be given to 10,000 households at four points in the eastern part of town and six in the western part, a UN spokesperson said in New York. Distribution in the town of Sake, to the west of Goma, began yesterday.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) oversaw the distribution of 258 metric tonnes of food, which included flour, oil and beans.

Non-food emergency relief - such as tarpaulins, blankets and jerrycans - are to be distributed at the same four sites tomorrow, the spokesperson added.

Estimates from UN offices in Goma indicate that some 12,000 families were without shelter and that 70 per cent of the town's schools were destroyed, as was 40 per cent of its medical infrastructure.

The UN humanitarian office said that bulldozers had now cleared a path for a land bridge over the lava, creating a much-needed corridor for foot and vehicular traffic between the western and eastern parts of the city.

Meanwhile, the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC has been bringing in supplies provided by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN World Health Organization (WHO) and international non-governmental organizations. Over 80 tonnes of provisions are being flown from Kinshasa to Kigali and then trucked into Goma by road.

The UN mission has also been conducting helicopter flights for relief officials and volcano experts, as the Goma airport was still closed to fixed-wing traffic.

In New York, a senior UN peacekeeping official briefed the Security Council on the UN's efforts to respond to the emergency, which has forced nearly 300,000 people from their homes.