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Families displaced by volcanic eruptions in the DRC criticize lack of assistance | Mountain Stories

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is facing criticism over the growing crisis in the east of the country as thousands of people who fled the Goma volcanic eruption lost their homes, food, and drinking water.

Nyiragongo erupted on May 22, erupting a volcanic eruption, which left many dead and many dead.

About 400,000 people in Goma, the capital of the North-Kivu province in eastern DRC, have fled.

While most fled to Rutshuru in the north, and Minova in the South-Kivu province, until a quarter of them went to Sake, about 30km (18 miles) northwest.

Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) told the AFP news agency that between 100,000 and 180,000 people had fled to Sake, adding 70,000 people to the area, and said cholera was dangerous as the area was trying to tackle the problem.

Many refugees in the town of Sake complained about the lack of government assistance and said they wanted to return home – even though they were vulnerable to the ongoing earthquakes and the threat of an explosion.

“Life here is not easy. I have been sick for two days, I have no one to talk to about my pain, bring me to my hometown, ”Claudine Sinziyimana, a widow who fled the volcano, told Al Jazeera.

“It’s better to die from exposure to air than to starve to death here [the town of] Because, “he added.

Claudine Sinziyimana, 69, a widow who escaped from a volcanic eruption [Esdras Tsongo/Al Jazeera]

President Felix Tshisekedi said on Saturday that the situation in Goma was “difficult but corrected”.

He advised the refugees not to return, one week after the quake.

“There is a volcanic eruption that could happen at any time anywhere in the city,” Tshisekedi warned.

“The lava is no longer found in the valley, but the lava is still working, which is why we need to be careful and that’s why we don’t want to rush things back to rehabilitate people,” he said.

A report by the Goma Volcano Observatory (OVG) on Saturday states that 61 earthquakes shook the area 24 hours ago.

The UN relief agency OCHA said that after the explosion, more than 4,500 homes were destroyed by the lava, affecting about 20,000 people.

Although many refugees in Sake live in places of worship and community centers, many have no place to hide.

“Our house was burned down by an explosion. We lost our business because of a volcanic eruption. We are sleeping in a 19-room house with some other homeless people, “said Clarice Matikiti.

“We are speechless [feeling suffocated] due to the large amount in the small house. If the government can’t give us food, give us a place to sleep here, ”he added.

Clarice Matikiti, her son in the back, her husband and grandmother discussing family matters on how to get out of Sake village [Esdras Tsongo/Al Jazeera]

MSF said it had provided solutions to water shortages, bringing donations and distributing water by truck, but that more was needed and mentioned food, shelter and medicine as other basic needs.

“The crisis needs to be addressed and urgently addressed,” Magali Roudaut, head of missions at MSF at GC in the DRC, told AFP.

Officials say assistance is on the way to the area. But many people who have left home are asking why they did not receive any government assistance in one week of the explosion.

“Since we left Goma, we have no help. We are eating with difficulty. The specialty food here is porridge. Our children are starving, ”said Kabugho Malimingi.

“I have seven children, two of whom have already had diarrhea because of the bad water in this village. Let the government help us. Either give us food or bring us home, ”he said.

Kabugho Malimingi, on the left, a homeless man has exploded [Esdras Tsongo/Al Jazeera]

International aid agencies already exist in Goma, where it has been plagued by 30 years of brutality by many armed forces, many of which are the legacy of two regional wars that began from 1996 to 2003.

In addition to the refugee trials, hundreds of children were separated from their parents on the trip – which aid agencies are quick to tackle.

Additional reports of Esdras Tsongo in Sake.

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