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FAO launches $1.25 million appeal to aid victims of Congo volcano

FAO launches $1.25 million appeal to aid victims of Congo volcano

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today appealed for $1.25 million to help people affected by the volcanic eruption two weeks ago in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Today’s move, part of an overall $15 million joint appeal issued by UN aid agencies on 22 January, is an effort to help farmers and their families avoid serious repercussions of food security and agriculture in the Goma area, FAO said in a statement released at the agency’s headquarters in Rome.

“Around the volcano are some of the most fertile agricultural areas in the region,” said FAO Emergency Coordinator Alexis Bonte. “The repercussions of the disaster on agricultural production in the Goma area could be very critical in the coming season.”

The volcano erupted just as 80 per cent of the farmers had finished their bean and maize harvest; the vegetable harvest still remains to be collected, according to FAO.

In close cooperation with non-governmental organizations, FAO is preparing to help farmers rebuild their lives by providing $1 million worth of construction materials, seeds of fast growing vegetables and agricultural tools to some 6,000 farmers in Goma and nearby villages. With this help, some of the worst affected families will be able to supply themselves in the next three weeks with basic food, the UN agency said.

Meanwhile, $250,000 will be used to provide seeds and tools to communities that have been facing difficulty after hosting and supporting displaced families.