A multi-hazard emergency looms large following the recent volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned on Thursday.
Mt. Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted on May 22 and spewed out a river of lava that eventually flowed east toward neighboring Rwanda, killing more than 30 people and causing enormous damage along the way.
According to the IFRC, some 80,000 people have been displaced in the DRC and Rwanda, and it has launched an emergency appeal for 11.6 million Swiss francs (over $12.2 million).
“The danger is not over, and more work lies ahead. While volcanic activity seems to have subsided, the recent eruption has left a trail of immense humanitarian needs,” Mohammed Omer Mukhier, IFRC regional director for Africa, said in a statement.
“Hundreds have lost their homes and they urgently need shelter, food, clean water, and healthcare. Families have also been separated amid the chaos that followed the eruption.”
Karamaga Apollinaire, the secretary-general of the Rwanda Red Cross, said the organization has “had to manage the influx and the destruction of property caused by the continuous earthquakes” in the town of Rubavu, where many Congolese sought refuge after the eruption.
“Schools, homes, markets, and water lines have been destroyed, and residents are being evacuated to safer grounds,” he said.
UNICEF said on Wednesday that more than 1,300 children were separated from their parents in the chaos that followed the eruption of Mt. Nyiragongo.
To date, 858 children have been reunited with their families, the UN body said on Twitter.