Salesian Missions Australia has launched an appeal for victims of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano that erupted last month in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The May 22 eruption was close to the city of Goma, which has a population of about 2 million. The fast-moving lava from the volcano flattened more than 500 homes and killed 32 people. Volcanic ash is a major health concern, causing inflammation and irritation of the respiratory system, skin irritation, eye problems and. when inhaled, lung damage.
Fr Aurelien Mukangwa, the Salesian priest in charge of the two Don Bosco Schools and Centres in Goma, says that living conditions for people in the aftermath of the volcano are difficult. Large numbers are in need of shelter, food and water that is free of volcanic ash. He says many children unable to locate their parents.
“The schools in Goma and Shasha (40km from the city) have been established as emergency relief centres. They are supporting families and young people that are displaced,” Fr Aurelien said.
“The Salesian Sisters and Salvatorian Sisters who are running orphanages that care for children are also being assisted.
“Our first priority is to cater for basic needs: food, water, milk, mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets, medicines, games to occupy the children etc, however we have limited supplies.”
Appeal for volcano victims in the Congo (Salesian Missions Australia)