DR of Congo: UN relief effort continues in town destroyed by volcano

DR of Congo: UN relief effort continues in town destroyed by volcano

Thousands were displaced by the volcano in Goma
The United Nations today began distributing non-food emergency supplies at 10 sites in western and eastern Goma, the town devastated by last week’s volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is coordinating the operation, which is also giving out supplies at one site in the neighbouring town of Sake, a UN spokesperson said in New York.

Meanwhile, general food distribution to thousands of people in the two towns continued under the supervision of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which is working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

According to WFP, food continues to arrive in the Goma area in sufficient quantities, with the agency planning to distribute approximately 8,000 metric tonnes of food in the DRC for the first month.

Recent assessment missions conducted in the Goma area by UN relief officials have confirmed the tendency for displaced persons to return to the town.

In related news, Amos Namanga Ngongi, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, and Gen. Mountaga Diallo, the commander of UN troops, were in Goma today for their second visit in 72 hours and met with officials of the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), the de facto authority in the town.

Mr. Ngongi told the officials that the mission, known as MONUC, was committed to helping the UN agencies and their NGO partners in the humanitarian effort and that assisting the population of Goma was of paramount importance. He noted that MONUC’s air and ground assets were used to cope with the crisis and help transport humanitarian assistance to the needy population.

RCD officials commended the UN mission for its active contributions and emphasized the key, cooperative role played by senior MONUC officials who were in Goma at the time of the eruption, according to a UN spokesperson.

On the financial side, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that some $12 million had been released for the humanitarian effort in Goma, though the figure does not include in-kind contributions, such as air transport.