Ireland responds to earthquake in DRC and Rwanda
Minister of State for Overseas Development, Michael Kitt T.D. announced today that Ireland’s response to the recent earthquake in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Rusizi of Rwanda would be through the Rapid Response Initiative.
“In the first place, I have ordered the shipment of 150 tents from our stockpiles of humanitarian supplies in Brindisi, Italy to assist the victims of the earthquake in Bukavu, DRC. The shipment will be coordinated on our behalf by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and will be carried out by the Un World Food Programme”, said the Minister.
Ireland is also deploying both of its UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) experts to the DRC as part of an UNDAC team to carry out an initial assessment of the humanitarian needs of the affected communities in the region hit by the earthquake.
“Ireland joined the UNDAC process in 2007 and this is the first time that our experts are to be deployed to the field with an UNDAC team. Commandant Damien McEvoy of the Defence Forces, Engineering Corps and Dr Harriet Sexton Morel from Irish Aid’s Emergency and Recovery Section based in Limerick are currently travelling to Bukavu as part of a 2 week UNDAC mission. I wish them both well for his important work”, said the Minister.
“Later this week, we will also deploy to the DRC a member of the Rapid Response Corps. This volunteer, the eighth member to be deployed since the launch of the Rapid Response Corps in 2007, will work as a logistician with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), based in Kinshasa, DRC”, added the Minister.
Note to Editors:
An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude and subsequent aftershocks hit the South Kivu Province of DRC and the Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts of Rwanda on the morning of Sunday 3 February. The epicentre of the earthquakes was close to the city of Bukavu, DRC. So far, there are 45 people dead and 876 injured. Some 1,200 homes have been destroyed in Rwanda and 1,127 families have been registered for assistance in DRC. Additional earth movements of a serious magnitude are possible and humanitarian response activities are underway in DRC and Rwanda.
The UNDAC team is a stand-by team of disaster management professionals who are nominated and funded by member governments, OCHA, UNDP and operational humanitarian United Nations Agencies such as WFP, UNICEF and WHO. Upon request of a disaster-stricken country, the UNDAC team can be deployed to carry out rapid assessment of priority needs and to support national Authorities and the United Nations Resident Coordinator to coordinate international relief on-site. The UNDAC team provides first-hand information on the disaster situation and priority needs of the victims to the international community through OCHA. Ireland has two experts who are fully trained and on standby for deployment.
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