O’Donnell announces €800.000 in Aid for Goma Volcano Victims
The Minister of State with special responsibility for Overseas Development Assistance & Human Rights, Ms. Liz O’Donnell T.D., has announced that the Government will make available the sum of €800,000 for humanitarian assistance following the volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“A major natural disaster is unfolding in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, the Minister of State commented, “ the human consequences are severe with many casualties and hundreds of thousands uprooted from their homes”.
At the peak of the crisis 250,000 people were seeking refuge in neighbouring Rwanda; 100,000 moved westward while around 150,000 remained in Goma. In remarking on the scale of disruption being caused to homes and livelihoods, Minister of State O’Donnell added,
“Yet again we are witnessing human suffering in the Great Lakes Region of Africa - a region with which the Irish people and our aid community have a deep working affinity. Having suffered over many years as a result of conflict and poverty, to be visited by a natural disaster on this scale is particularly harrowing for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo”.
The €800,000 announced by Minister of State O’Donnell in response to the volcano disaster will help meet the immediate needs of its victims including the provision of emergency food, shelter and water supplies.
“Staff at Ireland Aid have been in contact with Irish and international aid agencies since the eruption happened and will continue to work with them in tackling the Goma crisis with the support of today’s funding. The fact that huge numbers of people are also trying to return to the disaster area despite after-shocks and the danger of further eruptions is creating enormous challenges for those trying to deliver aid”.
Today’s emergency funding of €800,000 comes in addition to Ireland Aid’s ongoing recovery support for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo which amounted to €1.33 million (£1.05 m) during 2001. Ireland’s total humanitarian support for the Great Lakes Region during 2001 was almost €4 million (£3.12 m) which was channelled to the most vulnerable sectors of its population in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania.