Goma/27 May 2021: Responding to loss of life, the destruction of homes and infrastructure and mass displacement following the volcanic eruption of Mt Nyiragongo in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the European Commission has provided EUR 160 000 (CDF 387 millions) in humanitarian funding to assist the displaced and the most affected families.
This EU funding will support the Congolese Red Cross society in delivering relief assistance, especially to the displaced families who had to flee and take shelter in evacuation centres, with host families or on the streets. The funding will help provide emergency shelter, first aid services, psychosocial support and to restore family links where families have been separated during the panic mass movement.
The Congolese Red Cross society will also provide face masks to volunteers as well as to the displaced to protect them from the effects of volcanic ash. They will also provide drinking water, kitchen and sanitary kits as well as dignity kits for women and adolescent girls. With the continued seismic activity, the Congolese Red Cross will also identify new evacuation centres and help in the management of a few of the existing ones.
This project will run for three months and will benefit about 12 500 people among those most affected by the volcanic eruptions.
The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
On 22 May this year, Mt Nyiragongo suddenly erupted, resulting in lava flows in several directions, including towards the city of Goma. This sudden volcanic eruption created panic within the population, leading to mass movements towards the towns of Sake, Bukavu and across the Rwandan border. Overall, an estimated minimum of 21 000 people saw their houses destroyed and have been displaced. 31 people reportedly died, 40 are missing. A number of people sustained injuries. When the eruption started, hundreds of children simply ran away and were separated from their families. Most have been reunited, but at least 74 have been put into foster care or in transit centres, where they also receive psychosocial support.
In the early hours of 27 May, the government announced an obligatory evacuation of parts of the city of Goma as a preventive measure in case of a second eruption of Mt. Nyiragongo, as seismic activities and earth tremors continue. The announcement caused an immediate exodus of tens of thousands of people. Rubavu district in Rwanda is also affected.
About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises. The European Commission ensures rapid and effective delivery of EU relief assistance through its two main instruments: civil protection and humanitarian aid.
Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Commission helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year.With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the department provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs. For more information, please visit the European Commission's website.
About the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund
The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit in with its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.
For further information, please contact: Mathias.Eick@echofield.eu or +254 722 791 604